Ear injury caused by elevated intratympanic pressure during general anaesthesia

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1980 Jun;24(3):224-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.1980.tb01539.x.


Two cases of middle-ear injury, due to sharp fluctuations of intratympanic pressure as a result of general anaesthesia with nitrous oxide are presented. A study is reported indicating that the degree of these fluctuations is a function of the concentration of nitrous oxide. In order to reduce the risk of middle-ear injury due to nitrous oxide anaesthesia, it is suggested that the lowest concentration feasible should be used where there is a history of previous ear surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anesthesia, General / adverse effects*
  • Anesthesia, Inhalation / adverse effects
  • Barotrauma / etiology*
  • Barotrauma / prevention & control
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ear, Middle / injuries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrous Oxide / administration & dosage
  • Pressure


  • Nitrous Oxide