Eustachian tube function in patients receiving continuous positive airway pressure treatment for sleep apnea syndrome

J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010 Dec;39(6):752-6.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eustachian Tube / physiology
  • Eustachian Tube / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy