Handheld device to treat otitis media with effusion

Innovation

CLiKX NUS Engineering
© NUS Engineering

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) recently developed a novel handheld device, known as CLiKX, for the treatment of otitis media with effusion (OME), commonly also called “glue ear”, reports ScienceDaily.

OME is a leading cause of hearing loss and visits to the doctor among children worldwide. Without treatment, it can also lead to middle ear bone erosion or tumors, and brain infections. The current treatment approach is initial drug therapy and, in the event of treatment failure, ear surgery.

Dr Lynne Lim, an Adjunct Associate Professor with the Department of Otolaryngology at NUS, explains: “The first line therapy for OME is usually the prescription of antibiotics and treatment of blocked ear tubes. But sometimes, the antibiotics may not be effective against OME. For patients with three or more episodes of OME within a year […] grommet tube placement surgery is currently the gold standard of care. A grommet is a very small tube that is inserted onto the patient’s ear drum during surgery to help drain away fluid in the middle ear. Each procedure usually takes about 30 minutes under general anesthesia to complete.”

To improve the outcomes of surgical treatment and simplify the procedure, the team developed CLiKX. The device can deliver the grommet tube into the patient’s ear very quickly and safely using a sensor-controlled automation process. The group of researchers believes CLiKX could shift the current standard of surgical procedures because it enables the grommet tube to be inserted with a single click, in less than a second. They say the procedure could be performed simply under local anesthesia and even outside the operating theater.

Source: ScienceDaily; National University of Singapore