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Assess the feasibility of using the Valsalva maneuver to visualize the cartilaginous eustachian tube lumen with computed tomography (CT) in subjects with no ear disease.
Prospective case series study.
Thirty-eight consecutive patients undergoing CT of the sinuses for nose-related complaints with normal radiographic findings consented for a CT of the temporal bone while performing the Valsalva maneuver. Multiplanar reconstruction was performed along the axis of the tube. Images were assessed for visualization of the whole length of lumen of the tube, or partial visualization with ratio of visualized to nonvisualized segments.
The Valsalva maneuver allowed visualization of the whole length of the tube in 27/76 (35%) ears examined. It consistently visualized the distal one-third of the cartilaginous tube in 71/76 (94%) ears. Paradoxical collapse of the eustachian tube was present in three ears along with evidence of poor Valsalva technique.
Valsalva CT consistently allows visualization of the lumen of the distal one-third of the eustachian tube in a majority of patients with no eustachian tube-related complaints. This technique might be helpful in localizing eustachian tube pathology in patients with obstructive tube symptoms.
© 2014 The American Laryngological,