Background: The OM-6 survey is a validated and multinationally accepted instrument to measure the treatment effect of otitis media in children. Routine use of the OM-6 in a busy general practice is not always possible and can lead to incomplete returned surveys. A simplified method is favoured when the aim is a continuous process of complete treatment-outcome-data collection. This study tests if a VAS can quantify how much a child suffers from chronic otitis media and how much this changes due to surgical treatment. The change in overall OM-6 scores due to surgical treatment, functions as the gold reference standard. Furthermore, this study tests if the VAS is faster to use than the OM-6 and if it leads to an improvement in complete data collection. Methods: Prospective cohort follow-up study of 175 consecutive children with chronic otitis media in a paediatric otolaryngology practice in a metropolitan area. Data collected included patient's age, gender, clinical presentation, type of surgical procedure performed, overall OM-6 score and VAS score (at initial presentation and at follow-up), time needed to complete an OM-6 survey and VAS separately and number of incorrect OM-6 surveys and VAS questions returned. Results: The VAS scores and overall OM-6 scores show a good, positive correlation at baseline (Spearman's ρ = 0.71). This correlation improves at follow-up, one and 6 months after intervention (ρ = 0.73 and ρ = 0.80, respectively). The change in VAS scores and overall OM-6 scores, interpreted as change due to surgical intervention, show a good positive correlation at follow-up (ρ = 0.70 and ρ = 0.77, respectively). The VAS is almost three times faster than the OM-6 (28 s versus 81 s). More than 13% of OM-6 surveys were returned incomplete. All VAS questions were returned correct. Conclusions: The VAS can be used as a simplified method for routine surgical treatment effect analysis in children with chronic otitis media.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Child, Correlation, Otitis media, Quality of life, Treatment effect analysis, Visual analog scale
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijporl.2007.12.004, hdl.handle.net/1765/29321
Citation
Datema, F.R., Vemer-van den Hoek, J.G., Wieringa, M.H., Mulder, P.G.H., Baatenburg de Jong, R.J., & Blom, H.M.. (2008). A visual analog scale can assess the effect of surgical treatment in children with chronic otitis media with effusion. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 72(4), 461–467. doi:10.1016/j.ijporl.2007.12.004