Objective: we evaluated eustachian tube (ET) function in patients using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
Study design: cross-sectional clinical study.
Setting: tertiary referral centre.
Subjects and methods: the study included 51 patients (102 ears) with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), with a mean age of 51.2 years, who were using CPAP (study group) and 48 patients (96 ears) with OSAS, with a mean age of 36.0 years, who were not using CPAP (control group). ET function in the study and control groups was evaluated using the automatic Toynbee test.
Results: the mean middle ear pressure was significantly higher in the left ear than the right ear in patients using CPAP (p = .008). The mean middle ear pressure in the right ear was significantly higher in the control group than in the group using CPAP (p = .030). There was no significant difference in functional or nonfunctional ET in the left or right ears of the patients who were or were not using CPAP.
Conclusion: CPAP therapy had no effect on the ET function of patients who had received CPAP therapy for a minimum of 6 months. Awareness of the effects of CPAP on the physiologic processes relevant to the upper respiratory tract will allow a better understanding and management of its side effects and may enhance patient compliance with therapy.