Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
The Eustachian Tube is a narrow tube that links the back of the nose to the middle ear. It is normally closed but opens when we swallow, yawn, or chew. It has three main functions: to protect the middle ear from sources of disease, to ventilate the middle ear, and to help drain secretions away from the middle ear.
About Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD) is the inability of the Eustachian Tube to adequately perform these functions and failure of the valve of the Eustachian Tube to open and/or close properly. Anything that prevents the tube from opening or closing properly can cause Eustachian Tube Dysfunction.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction may occur when the mucosal lining of the tube is swollen, or does not open or close properly. It can also occur after the start of a cold and other nose, sinus, ear, and throat infections.
When the Eustachian Tube is not working properly, the patient can possibly experience the following symptoms:
- Muffled hearing
- Fullness of the ear
- Pain in the ear
- Inability to equilibrate middle ear (ME) pressure
Long-term ETD has been associated with damage to the middle ear and the eardrum, otitis media with effusion, atelectasis of the ME, adhesive otitis, perforation of the eardrum, and Cholestetoma.
The Acclarent Aera® Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation System is the only available device in the U.S. intended to dilate the Eustachian tube for patients with persistent ETD.
The Acclarent Aera® system uses a catheter to insert a small balloon through the patient’s nose and into the Eustachian tube. Once inflated, the balloon opens up a pathway for mucus and air to flow through the Eustachian tube, which may help restore proper function. After the Eustachian tube is dilated, the balloon is deflated, and the catheter is removed.
The Acclarent Aera® device is intended to dilate the Eustachian Tube to treat persistent ETD in patients ages 18 and older.
As listed above, Eustachian Tube dysfunction can be treated in the office or through a minimally invasive procedure. Procedures for ETD have a quick recovery time, require no general anesthesia, and are less expensive than non-procedural methods.
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Dr. Nicole Klein is a board-certified Otolaryngologist (ENT) serving patients in the greater Indianapolis area. Her ENT and Facial Plastics practice is affiliated with Otolaryngology Associates and OA Facial Plastics.
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