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A Journal on Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery,
Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, Otoneurosurgery

Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Scopus




Otorinolaringologia 2009 December;59(4):203-8

language: Italian

Tubal function in divers and non-divers: case control study

Martines F. 2, Di Piazza F. 1, Martinciglio G. 1, Bentivegna D. 1, Martines E. 1

1 Sezione di Audiologia e Foniatria, Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Mediche e Medicina Legale Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italia
2 Sezione di Otorinolaringoiatria, Dipartimento di NeuroScienze Cliniche, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italia


Aim. The aim of this study was to examine whether periodic scuba diving and frequent use of Valsalva’s manoeuvre while diving, increase functionality of divers’ Eustachian tube (ET) in comparison with non-divers.
Methods. The study included 30 experienced divers (G1), mean age 25.8 years, who have been diving for over 10 years. The control group consisted of 30 non-divers (G2), mean age 31.3 years. Each sample underwent clinical examinations to identify predisposing conditions to middle ear barotraumas and ET dysfunction. ET function has been investigated by the inflation-deflation test, that shows baseline tympanogram, a second tympanogram shifted of the peak towards positive values of 20 mmH20 or more and a third tympanogram shifted of the peak towards negative values of 20 mmH20 or more, as a result of the action of the elastics components in a normal tube. Classification of ET function:normofunction, hypofunction and hyperfunction has also been evaluated.
Results. Among divers the ET function resulted, also in the presence of risk factors, normo (50%) and hyper (50%); for non-divers in 23.3% of cases an ET hypofunction was evidenced, suggesting a statistically significant difference (c2=6.4656; P=0.0197).
Conclusion. The results show significant greater ET function in divers than in the control group, also in the presence of risk factors. This can be due to the frequent use of Valsalva’s manoeuvre in time. It can cause changes in the middle ear vibration system and the ET function.

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