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The information contained on this page is provided as general health information and is not intended to substitute as medical advice and direction from your physician or health care provider. Please direct any questions related to your health care provider. In an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency center.


Eustachian tube patency

Definition

Eustachian tube patency refers to how much the eustachian tube is open. The eustachian tube runs between the middle ear and the throat. It controls the pressure behind the eardrum and middle ear space. This helps keep the middle ear free of fluid.

The eustachian tube is normally open, or patent. However, some conditions can increase pressure in the ear such as:

  • Ear infections
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Altitude changes
These can cause the eustachian tube to become blocked.

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Ear anatomyEustachian tube anatomy

References

Kerschner JE, Preciado D. Otitis media. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 640.

O'Reilly RC, Levi J. Anatomy and physiology of the eustachian tube. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 131.