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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


SAMSON, E; QUAIL, G; PEER, S  and  FAGAN, J J. Tympanostomy tube insertion practice in under-18-year-olds in the South African private healthcare sector insured by Discovery Health. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2019, vol.109, n.6, pp.421-425. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND. The reported rates of tympanostomy tube insertion (TTI) in children vary significantly internationally. Lack of adherence to evidence-based clinical guidelines may contribute to these differences. OBJECTIVES. To study the rates of TTI in South Africa (SA) in children <18 years old in the private healthcare sector, both nationally and regionally, to compare these with international TTI rates, and to determine the use of preoperative audiometry and tympanometry. METHODS. A retrospective analysis was done of data obtained from the Discovery Health database. Rates of TTI were analysed nationally and regionally and in different age groups, as was the use of tympanometry and audiograms. RESULTS. The SA TTI rates were much higher than published international rates except for the 0 - 1-year age group in Canada and Denmark and the 0 - 15-year age group in Denmark. There was a statistically significant regional variation in TTI rates as well as in the use of preoperative audiometry and tympanometry. CONCLUSIONS. SA private sector TTI rates are high by international standards. Significant regional variations may indicate over- or underservicing in certain regions. Further investigation of causes for the high TTI rate and regional variations is recommended. Education of healthcare professionals on recognised indications for TTI may improve patient selection.

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