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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Relation of body posture to Eustachian tube function.

The function of the Eustachian tube was tested by sonotubometry in 34 adult, otologically healthy persons in different body postures. The relation of tubal function to body posture was analysed statistically. The horizontal position (lying dorsally or face down) and the elevation of the patient's head by 20 degrees had no significant effect on the tubal patency as compared with the sitting position. Similar results were obtained from 2 subjects with a common cold. In spite of the small mean values of the air flow through the tube, which were tested previously, while the patients were in a horizontal position, the Eustachian tube opens normally. The earlier, contrary results obtained by the pressure equalization method may be erroneous, due to a locking phenomenon or a tubal obstruction, which the act of swallowing was unable to overcome. The postural effect on the tubal function is slight and the advice to place the patient's head during bed rest in a position of at least 20 degrees above the horizontal level has hardly any significance in the prevention or treatment of acute or secretory otitis media.[1]


  1. Relation of body posture to Eustachian tube function. Virtanen, H. Acta Otolaryngol. (1983) [Pubmed]
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