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September 1989

Alterations of the Eustachian Tube, Middle Ear, and Nose in Rhinovirus Infection

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (Pa) and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Drs McBride and Doyle); and the Departments of Internal Medicine and Pathology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville (Drs Hayden and Gwaltney).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(9):1054-1059. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860330044014

• This study measured the changes in 64 ears of 32 adult volunteers in eustachian tube function by the nine-step test, middle ear pressure by tympanometry, and nasal patency by active posterior rhinomanometry for 18 days following type 39 or Hanks rhinovirus infection. Abnormal measures were limited to the 75% of subjects (24) with clinical illness (colds) defined by symptom scores. Two days after infection, tubal function was present in only 50% of ears (48) and 20% of persons (5), middle ear underpressures of less than −50 mm H2O were measured in 50% of volunteers (12), and decreased nasal patency was observed in 54% of those with colds (13). These changes resolved 6 to 10 days after challenge. These results support a causal relationship between viral upper respiratory tract infection eustachian tube obstruction and abnormal middle ear pressure.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115:1054-1059)