Racial and Ethnic Differences in Receipt of Pressure Equalization Tubes Among US Children, 2014

Alan E. Simon, Emily F. Boss, Carla E. Zelaya, Howard J. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective Pressure equalization tube (PET) placement (also referred to as tympanostomy tube placement) is among the most common ambulatory surgical procedures performed on US children. More than 20 years ago, differences according to race/ethnicity in the national prevalence of having had PETs placed were documented. Whether these differences persist is unknown. Methods We used data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey to examine the percentage of children 0 to 17 years of age who have ever undergone PET placement. Unadjusted logistic regression with predictive margins was used to assess the relationship between having received PETs and race/ethnicity, as well as other clinical, socioeconomic, and geographic factors. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine whether other factors could account for any observed differences according to race/ethnicity. Results Overall, 8.9% of children 0 to 17 years of age had undergone PET surgery. By race/ethnicity, 12.6% of non-Hispanic white children received PETs, which was significantly greater than the 4.8% of non-Hispanic black, 4.4% of Hispanic, and 5.6% of non-Hispanic other/multiple race children who had this surgery (P < .001 for all comparisons). In multivariable analysis, the adjusted prevalence for non-Hispanic white children (10.8%) was greater than for non-Hispanic black (5.4%) and Hispanic (5.8%) children (P < .001 for both comparisons). Conclusions Nearly 9% of US children have had PETs placed. Non-Hispanic white children still have a greater prevalence of PET placement compared with non-Hispanic black and Hispanic children. These differences could not be fully explained by other demographic, clinical, socioeconomic, or geographic differences between racial/ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-94
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • disparities
  • grommets
  • pressure-equalizing tubes
  • tympanostomy tubes
  • ventilation tubes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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