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Jul/Aug 2017

The Myth of the Internal Nasal Valve

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of California, Irvine
  • 2Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Irvine
  • 3Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine
JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2017;19(4):253-254. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2017.0039

According to ancient Greek myth, the Strait of Messina between Sicily and Calabria in southern Italy is home to Charybdis, a sea monster capable of bringing down the toughest ships by swallowing them whole. Of course, there was no monster and both ship and sailor fell victim to a whirlpool, an aquatic vortex resulting from a recirculating flow produced by the interaction of opposing currents. DaVinci described vortices within the human body, theorizing that the sinuses of Valsalva in the heart created vortices that prevented clot formation and facilitated aortic valve closure.1