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November 1967

Pathology of the Eustachian Tube

Author Affiliations

Boston; Belfast, Ireland
From the Department of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (Dr. Schuknecht) and the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast North Ireland (Dr. Kerr).

Arch Otolaryngol. 1967;86(5):497-502. doi:10.1001/archotol.1967.00760050499007

WE HAVE STUDIED the eustachian tube areas of 400 human temporal bone specimens to gain some insight into the types of pathological change and the significance of these changes in otologic disease. Tubal dysfunction undoubtedly often leads to chronic middle ear disease and furthermore probably is responsible for many of the failures in tympanoplastic procedures as a consequence of inadequate aeration of the middle ear.

The chief function of the eustachian tube is to serve as a channel for the transmission of air from the nasopharynx to the middle ear, maintaining equal air pressure in the middle ear and environment and simultaneously minimizing the risk of contamination from the upper respiratory tract by remaining closed under normal resting conditions (Fig 1).

The eustachian tube also serves as a pathway for drainage and in this respect ciliated secretory epithelium is recognized as an important physiological mechanism.

From the pathological viewpoint, the

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