Eustachian tube dysfunction
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At the time the article was created Frank Gaillard had no recorded disclosures.View Frank Gaillard's current disclosures
At the time the article was last revised Daniel J Bell had no financial relationships to ineligible companies to disclose.View Daniel J Bell's current disclosures
Eustachian tube dysfunction, also known as pharyngotympanic tube or auditory tube dysfunction, refers to the failure of the Eustachian tube to open or close properly. Therefore, it encompasses a spectrum from patulous to obstructive pathophysiology. Eustachian tube dysfunction predisposes to chronic otitis media.
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Eustachian tube dysfunction is estimated to be present in ~1% of the adult population.
It has been demonstrated that equalization of middle ear pressure, and flow of contrast out of the middle ear is poor in a high percentage of patients with chronic otomastoiditis, even though only ~33% demonstrate occlusion of the Eustachian tube or tubal filling defects (e.g. polyps). Dysfunction of the tensor veli palatini muscle has also been implicated. In patients with cleft palate ~50% demonstrate conductive hearing loss as a result of abnormal muscular function.
Failure to equalize middle ear pressure can lead to negative pressure causing tympanic membrane retraction, mucoperiosteal thickening and even acquired cholesteatomas due to the aforementioned retraction of the tympanic membrane.
The converse has also been postulated; failure of the Eustachian tube to close normally (known as patulous tube syndrome) during strong inspiration (i.e. 'sniff') transmits negative pressure to the middle ear and tympanic membrane with the same sequelae as above.
High resolution CT of the temporal bone may show opacification of the middle ear cavity +/- adjacent mastoid air cells due to secretory otitis and there is usually no ossicular chain erosion or disruption unless there is a superimposed infective and/or inflammatory process 4.
CT may also show the presence of an associated mass lesion.
Treatment and prognosis
Tympanoplasty may be required to restore normal function.
A few of the differentials of Eustachian tube dysfunction are 8:
- 1. Joel D. Swartz, H. Ric Harnsberger. Imaging of the Temporal Bone. (1998) ISBN: 9780865777002 - Google Books
- 2. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohrenheilkunde, Kopf- und Halschirurgie. Middle Ear Surgery. (2004) ISBN: 9781588901897 - Google Books
- 3. Hans Behrbohm, Eugene Tardy. Essentials of Septorhinoplasty. (2016) ISBN: 9783131319128 - Google Books
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- 6. Smith M, Scoffings D, Tysome J. Imaging of the Eustachian Tube and Its Function: A Systematic Review. Neuroradiology. 2016;58(6):543-56. doi:10.1007/s00234-016-1663-4 - Pubmed
- 7. Mo Y, Zhuo S, Tian L et al. Functional MRI of the Eustachian Tubes in Patients With Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: Correlation With Middle Ear Effusion and Tumor Invasion. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2016;206(3):617-22. doi:10.2214/AJR.15.14751 - Pubmed
- 8. Hamrang-Yousefi S, Ng J, Andaloro C. Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. 2022. - Pubmed