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Avoiding recurrent ear surgery for children

Image used with permission from Telethon Kids Institute
January 30, 2024 News

One in three children who undergo grommet surgery for otitis media will need to return to hospital for repeat surgery, due to recurrent infection of the media ear. It’s something Dr. Ruth Thornton is working to prevent from happening.

Ruth, a 2022 Mid-Career Fellowship Awardee, studies bacteria and how they interact with its host in chronic/recurrent respiratory infections. This includes chronic lung and Ear, Nose & Throat conditions.

Recently published in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, Ruth has shown that applying an anti-biofilm treatment to the ear during surgery is safe and well-tolerated and shows a trend to preventing blockage and grommets coming out prematurely. These data have seeded the ATOMIC ears study which is assessing the safety, tolerability and efficacy of increasing the number of doses of anti-biofilm therapy into the ear. This work will hopefully provides a real opportunity to lower the need for more surgery. It’s encouraging news for further biofilm research, and for children currently suffering from recurring ear infections.

Working in Perth at the renowned Telethon Kids Institute and the University of Western Australia, Ruth is an innovative researcher for paediatric health, who strives for better patient outcomes. Her collaborative approach to research and healthcare includes understanding the respiratory system as a whole to develop preventatives and improve therapeutics in the children.

“(I hope that) one day this treatment will be routine for all children having grommets,” says Ruth “meaning they would not need repeat surgery and would have the best start to life possible.”

Learn more about Ruth and her research via the link below.

External link: Ruth Thornton at the Telethon Kids' Institute

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