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, and helps keep the middle ear free of fluid.

The Eustachian tube is normally open, or patent. However, ear infections or altitude changes can increase pressure in the ear, causing the eustachian tube to become blocked.

Review date:
January 8, 2012
Reviewed by:
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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