Pressure chamber tests of eustachian tube function document lower efficiency in adults with colds when compared to without colds
Doyle, W.J.; Singla, A.; Banks, J.; El-Wagaa, J.; Swarts, J.D.
Acta Oto-Laryngologica 134(7): 691-697
Fractional gradient equilibrated (FGE) for ears with applied positive but not negative middle ear (ME)-ambient pressure gradients is highly sensitive to a cold-like illness (CLI). The sequential development of eustachian tube (ET) dysfunction, ME under-pressure, and otitis media (OM) characterizes many children during a CLI. If linked, OM burden would be lessened by interventions that promote/preserve good ET function during a CLI. Evaluating this requires a quantitative ET function test for MEs with an intact tympanic membrane responsive to a CLI. Pressure chamber testing of ET function was performed at +200 and -200 daPa in 3 groups of adults: group I, 21 subjects with an extant CLI and groups II and III, 14 and 57 adults, respectively, without a CLI. ME-chamber pressure gradient was recorded by tympanometry before and after the subject swallowed twice. ET functional efficiency was quantified as the FGE, which was then compared among groups using a Mann-Whitney U test. At chamber pressures of 200 daPa, the ME-chamber pressure gradient was negative, and FGE was low and not different among groups. At chamber pressures of -200 daPa that gradient was positive, and FGE was significantly higher in groups II and III when compared with group I.