Annals of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (ISSN 2835-7132) | Volume 1, Issue 2 | Research Article | Open Access

Pressure Equalization Tube Surgery Postponement due to COVID-19: Impact on Cost and Quality of Life

Sebastian Sciegienka*

Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

*Correspondence to: Sebastian Sciegienka 

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Objectives: To estimate the impact on healthcare costs and patient quality of life secondary to postponement of Pressure Equalization Tube (PET) surgery for Otitis Media (OM) in children due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: A prospective cohort study was performed following patients whose PET surgery was postponed to a later date due to COVID-19. Patients were followed from the originally scheduled surgery date until PET placement or definitive cancelation (intervention), then afterwards for an equivalent time. Four weeks after the original surgery date and every four weeks thereafter, quality of life was measured using the OM-6 and patients’ healthcare utilization were assessed. True healthcare costs and predicted healthcare costs had the pandemic not occurred were compared. OM-6 scores were compared within and between groups during the pre-intervention and post-intervention time periods.

Results: Nineteen patients were included in statistical analysis. Thirteen underwent PET surgery; six patients’ surgeries were canceled during the study. The true healthcare cost was $10,750.09 while the predicted healthcare cost was $13,879.52. The OM-6 paired mean decreases in the postponed surgery group and canceled surgery group were significant at 1.3 and 0.78, respectively; however, the mean change between the two groups was not. There was no significant difference in OM-6 score between the surgery and canceled surgery groups before intervention, 2.5 and 2.0, respectively.

Conclusion: Postponement of PET placement due to COVID-19 decreased both total healthcare costs and patients’ quality of life.


COVID-19; Pressure equalization tubes; Cost; Quality of life; Postponement


Sebastian Sciegienka, David Leonard, Judith Lieu.Pressure Equalization Tube Surgery Postponement due to COVID-19: Impact on Cost and Quality of Life. Annal of Otol Head and Neck Surg. 2022;1(2):1-8.