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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2005 September;58(3):207-13


language: Italian

Tubal disfunction and barotraumatic otitis in divers

Testa D. 1, Tafuri D. 2, Soscia A. 3, Iovine R. 2, Marmo M. 4, Di Iorio C. 4, Guerra G. 3

1 Dipartimento di Otorinolaringoiatria e Scienze Affini, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, Napoli; 2 Facoltà di Scienze Motorie, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Parthenope”, Napoli; 3 Dipartimento di Scienze Biomorfologiche e Funzionali, Scuola di Specializzazione e Servizio Speciale di Medicina dello Sport, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, Napoli; 4 Dipartimento di Anestesia e Terapia Intensiva, Unità di Medicina Iparbarica, Azienda Ospedaliera “A. Cardarelli”, Napoli


Objective. Barotrauma is defined as a tissue damage resulting from the direct effect of pressure. It in divers results from the interplay between internal physiologic pressure levels and pressure levels in the water surrounding the diver. During immersions the hyperbaric pressure forces blood and tissue fluids into the air-filled spaces until ambient pressure; similarly expansion of trapped air cause barotrauma. For a diver to avoid barotrauma, the pressure in air-filled space must be equalized in ambient pressure. In this study we evaluated morphological and clinical alteration of nose predisposing barotraumas like: septal deviation, turbinate hypertrophy, chronic sinusitis and nasal allergy.
Methods. We evaluated thirty divers affected by chronic ear barotrauma. For each subject we performed: sport medicine examination, complete ear nose throat examination, otoscopic examination, nose and sinuses CT scan examination.
Results. Athletes were divided in two groups: first group included subjects shown nose morphological alterations and they were treated using surgical approach while second group included athletes with nasal allergy and they had medical treatment using antihistaminic drugs and hydrocortisone. After treatment diving was resumed and results analyzed.
Discussion. Substantially treatments used in both groups shown a reduced incidence of barotrauma.

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