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Current findings on the measurement of the tube function in a hypo-/hyperbaric pressure chamber
18 April 2018 (online)
Objectives: Measurement of the Eustachian tube (ET) function is a challenge. The demand of an exact and meaningful diagnostic tool increases, particularly because invasive approaches i.e. dilatation procedures are offered without objective evidence. The measurement of ET function by continuous impedance recording in a pressure chamber is an established method, although the reliability of measurements is still unclear.
Twenty-five participants (50 ears) were exposed to phases of compression and decompression in a hypo- and hyperbaric pressure chamber. Different parameters of ET function called ET opening pressure (ETOP), ET opening duration (ETOD), and ET opening frequency (ETOF) were determined under exactly the same preconditions three times in a row. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Bland and Altman plot were used to assess test-retest reliability.
Intraclass correlation coefficients revealed a high correlation for ETOP and ETOF in passive equalization system as well as ETOD and ETOP in active equalization system. Very high correlation could be shown for ETOD in passive and ETOF in active equalization system. The Bland and Altmann graphs could show that measurements provide results within 95% confidence interval in passive and active equalization.
We conclude that measurements in a pressure chamber can be claimed as gold standard to estimate the ET opening and closing function. This study is a basis for further explorations for efficiency in ET treatment modalities.