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Clinical Challenges
August 2000

There Are No Accurate Tests for Eustachian Tube Function

Author Affiliations


Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000;126(8):1041-1042. doi:10.1001/archotol.126.8.1041

To serve and protect—the motto of many police departments—summarizes the functions of the eustachian tube. The timely review by Cliff A. Mergerian, MD, well presents the pros and cons of eustachian tube testing for pediatric tympanoplasty candidates.

Eustachian tube services include ventilation (the maintenance of near-atmospheric middle ear pressure) and mucociliary clearance (the surface sweeping from middle ear into nasopharynx). The normal eustachian tube protects against reflux into the middle ear and from sniff-induced high negative middle ear pressure. Qualitative notions about service and protection, regarding both the eustachian tube and the police, are more readily available than are rigorous quantitative data.

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