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Prevention of middle ear barotrauma with oxymetazoline/fluticasone treatment

Middle ear barotrauma (MEB) is a common complication of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy. It has been reported in more than 40% of HBO2 treatments and can interrupt the sequence of HBO2. MEB may lead to pain, tympanic membrane rupture, and even hearing loss. The aim of this study was to determine if pretreatment with intranasal fluticasone and oxymetazoline affected the incidence of MEB. We conducted a retrospective chart review of subjects undergoing HBO2 at our institution between February 1, 2014, and May 31, 2019. Subjects in the fluticasone/ oxymetazoline (FOT) treatment group used intranasal fluticasone 50 mcg two times per day and oxymetazoline 0.05% one spray two times per day beginning 48 hours prior to initial HBO2. Oxymetazoline was discontinued after four days. Fluticasone was continued for the duration of HBO2 therapy. A total of 154 unique subjects underwent 5,683 HBO2 treatments: 39 unique subjects in the FOT group underwent 1,501 HBO2; 115 unique subjects in the nFOT (no oxymetazoline or fluticasone treatment) group underwent 4,182 HBO2 treatments. The incidence of MEB was 15.4% in the FOT group and 16.2% in the nFOT group. This was not a statistically significant difference (OR = 0.77; p = 0.636). Treatment pressure, age over 65 years, male sex, and BMI were not associated with a difference in MEB incidence. In summary, pretreatment with intranasal oxymetazoline and fluticasone in patients undergoing HBO2 did not significantly reduce MEB. More investigation with larger numbers of participants and prospective studies could further clarify this issue.

DOI: 10.22462/03.04.2021.4

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