J Douglas Swarts

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (83)106.43 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Eustachian tube (ET) dysfunction predisposes ears to otitis media, tympanic membrane retraction, retraction pocket and perforation, or cholesteatoma. To develop a method to quantitatively measure the eustachian tube (ET) component movements and their interactions captured by transnasal videoendoscopy of the ET during swallowing. A blinded analysis of ET mechanics in 33 adults, aged 18 to 54 years, with no middle ear disease at present but without (group 1 [n = 16]) or with (group 2 [n = 17]) history of disease, conducted at a clinical research laboratory. Videoendoscopy of the ET orifice at the nasopharynx. Eustachian tube component translations and structural interactions during a swallow and the between-group differences in those variables. After topical anesthesia of the nose, a 45° telescope was introduced unilaterally and focused on the ipsilateral ET orifice. A video recording of ET component movements was made during 3 swallows. Swallow and ET opening durations and times to selected events were calculated. Images at 3 time points were analyzed by measuring the apex angle, the medial-lateral luminal width, and the medial angles between a frame-normal horizontal line through the apex and fixed points on the torus and medial and lateral luminal walls. Linear and angular variables during a swallow were expressed as change from baseline. Luminal opening was driven by soft palate elevation-related medial rotation of the torus and medial wall, coupled with lateral wall fixedness. The magnitude of the change from baseline for most variables was statistically greater than 0. Swallow time, palatal elevation time, time interval between maximum palatal elevation, and maximum eustachian tube opening time were not different between groups 1 and 2. Opening time was longer (mean [SD], 0.49 [0.28] vs 0.67 [0.51] seconds; P = .03) in group 2. Higher magnitude of torus rotation (mean [SD], 36.05° [12.96°] vs 27.72° [9.45°]; P = .002) with maximum soft palate elevation in group 1 resulted in greater degree of eustachian tube orifice widening (mean [SD], 0.34% [0.47%] vs -0.02% [0.49%]; P = .001) compared with the resting position in that group. This methodology has application in developing quantitative descriptions of ET mechanics in groups of persons without and with history or suspected ET dysfunction. A lesser degree of soft palate elevation during swallow that derives the ET medial lamina rotation and widening of the ET orifice may be associated with poor ET function and higher risk for otitis media. Videoendoscopic evaluation of the ET orifice may assist in diagnosing presence and mechanism of ET dysfunction.
    JAMA otolaryngology-- head & neck surgery. 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Conclusions: Protocol limitations were identified and accounted for in the analysis. Percent gradient equilibrated (PGE) was affected by driving gradient direction in a similar manner to other efficiency measures. A finer resolution of possible age-related changes in eustachian tube opening efficiency is expected with the application of more sophisticated statistical models to the complete dataset at study end. Objective: To report the results of an interim analysis for an ongoing study designed to characterize the age-related changes in eustachian tube opening efficiency measured using a pressure chamber protocol in children without a history of middle ear disease. Methods: To date, 41 children aged 3 years without a history of otitis media have been enrolled in a longitudinal study of the age-related changes in eustachian tube function and evaluated at yearly intervals between 3 and 7 years of age. Eustachian tube opening efficiency, the percent of the applied pressure gradient equilibrated by swallowing, was measured by repeat tympanometry during a pressure chamber protocol. Data (120 tests) were analyzed using an ANOVA with variance partitioned by age (3 through 6 years), gradient direction (positive/negative), and ear (left/right). Results: PGE was higher for left ears and positive driving gradients, but was not different among age groups.
    Acta oto-laryngologica 06/2014; 134(6):579-87. · 0.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Conclusions: Fractional gradient equilibrated (FGE) for ears with applied positive but not negative middle ear (ME)-ambient pressure gradients is highly sensitive to a cold-like illness (CLI). Objective: The sequential development of eustachian tube (ET) dysfunction, ME under-pressure, and otitis media (OM) characterizes many children during a CLI. If linked, OM burden would be lessened by interventions that promote/preserve good ET function during a CLI. Evaluating this requires a quantitative ET function test for MEs with an intact tympanic membrane responsive to a CLI. Methods: Pressure chamber testing of ET function was performed at +200 and -200 daPa in 3 groups of adults: group I, 21 subjects with an extant CLI and groups II and III, 14 and 57 adults, respectively, without a CLI. ME-chamber pressure gradient was recorded by tympanometry before and after the subject swallowed twice. ET functional efficiency was quantified as the FGE, which was then compared among groups using a Mann-Whitney U test. Results: At chamber pressures of 200 daPa, the ME-chamber pressure gradient was negative, and FGE was low and not different among groups. At chamber pressures of -200 daPa that gradient was positive, and FGE was significantly higher in groups II and III when compared with group I.
    Acta Oto-Laryngologica 05/2014; · 0.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sonotubometry is a simple test for Eustachian tube (ET) opening during a maneuver. Different sonotubometry configurations were suggested to maximize test accuracy, but no method has been described for comparing sonotubometry test results with those for a definitive measure of ET opening. Here, we present such a method and exemplify is use by an accuracy assessment of a simple sonotubometry configuration. A total of 502 data-sequences from 168 test sessions in 103 adult subjects were analyzed. For each session, subjects were seated in a pressure chamber and relative middle ear over- and under-pressures created by changing chamber pressure. At each pressure, the test sequence of bilateral tympanometry, bilateral sonotubometry while the subject swallowed twice, and bilateral tympanometry was done. Tympanometric data were expressed as the fractional gradient equilibrated (FGE) by swallowing and sonotubometric signals were analyzed to record the shape of detected sound signals. Tympanometric and sonotubometric tubal opening assignments were analyzed by cross-correlation. For the data sequences with FGE = 0 (n = 32) evidencing no tubal opening and one (n = 249) evidencing definitive tubal opening, detection of a sonotubometry sound signal during a swallow had a sensitivity and specificity of 74.2 and 65.6 % for identifying ET openings and an accuracy of 73.3 % for assigning ET opening/non-opening by swallowing. Measures of sound signal shape were significantly different between those groups. This protocol allows a sonotubometry accuracy assessment for detecting ET openings. For the test configuration used, accuracy was moderate, but this should improve as more sophisticated sonotubometry test configurations are evaluated.
    Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology 04/2014; · 1.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Test the hypothesis that active Eustachian tube opening efficiency as measured by sonotubometry is higher in adults with no extant middle-ear disease and no history of previous otitis media (Group-1) when compared to adults with no middle-ear disease but a positive history for otitis media (Group-2). Methods Eustachian tube function for 1 ear of 33 otherwise healthy adult subjects, 16 assigned to Group-1 and 17 to Group-2, was tested by sonotubometry using a standard protocol. For each test, the sound envelopes for 3 swallows were abstracted independently by 2 observers from the data stream and 7 descriptive parameters related to sound envelope “shape” were calculated. Inter-relatedness among the values for the parameters was explored using correlation analysis. The contributions of swallow, observer and group to the variance in each parameter were evaluated for significance using a General Linear Model. Results The shape parameters reflecting envelope height, area and rise and fall rates were highly inter-correlated, but those reflecting envelope widths were not. There was no effect of “swallow” on any of the parameters; but there was a significant “observer” effect on all measures of envelope width, greater for observer-2, and a significant “group” effect for 5 of the 7 shape parameters, all greater in Group-1. Conclusions Quantifiable measures of the sound signal “shape” recorded by sonotubometry during swallowing were significantly different between the 2 groups of subjects. This is interpretable as evidencing a more efficient Eustachian tube opening-function in adults with healthy middle ears who do not have a previous history of otitis media when compared to similar adults with a history of prior otitis media. Inefficient Eustachian tube function as children may not be completely resolved by adulthood increasing adult otitis media risk when Eustachian tube function is down-graded by extant upper respiratory diseases that provoke nasopharyngeal inflammation.
    International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology 04/2014; · 0.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Test the hypothesis that the Eustachian tube (ET) function measured using standard manometric test methods is different between groups of ears with tympanostomy tubes inserted for recurrent acute otitis media (RAOM) and for chronic otitis media with effusion (COME). Study Design: A cross-sectional study of ET function in populations of young children with different otitis media expressions. Methods: The results for Forced-Response testing of ET function were compared using a general linear model between 37 ears of 26 children and 34 ears of 26 children aged 3 and 4 years old with ventilation tubes inserted for COME and RAOM, respectively. Results: There were no significant between-group differences in either the active measure of ET opening function, dilatory efficiency, or in the passive measures reflecting the magnitude of the forces that tend to hold the ET lumen closed, the opening and closing pressures and passive transET conductance. Conclusions: The results do not support the hypothesis that ET closing forces are less in ears with RAOM when compared to ears with COME and, from the results of earlier studies, ears without disease. Both groups were characterized by a low ET opening efficiency (referenced to ears of adults with no disease history). Because both disease expressions present the same pattern of ET dysfunction, other factors are required to explain why a subset of ears with that type of dysfunction develop RAOM, as opposed to the default expression of COME.
    The Laryngoscope 02/2014; · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE The study demonstrates the utility of eustachian tube (ET) function (ETF) test results for accurately assigning ears to disease state. OBJECTIVES To determine if ETF tests can identify ears with physician-diagnosed ET dysfunction (ETD) in a mixed population at high sensitivity and specificity and to define the interrelatedness of ETF test parameters. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Through use of the forced-response, inflation-deflation, Valsalva, and sniffing tests, ETF was evaluated in 15 control ears of adult subjects after unilateral myringotomy (group 1) and in 23 ears of 19 adult subjects with ventilation tubes inserted for ETD (group 2). Data were analyzed using logistic regression including each parameter independently and then a step-down discriminant analysis including all ETF test parameters to predict group assignment. Factor analysis operating over all parameters was used to explore relatedness. EXPOSURES ETF testing. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES ETF parameters for the forced response, inflation-deflation, Valsalva, and sniffing tests measured in 15 control ears of adult subjects after unilateral myringotomy (group 1) and in 23 ears of 19 adult subjects with ventilation tubes inserted for ETD (group 2). RESULTS The discriminant analysis identified 4 ETF test parameters (Valsalva, ET opening pressure, dilatory efficiency, and percentage of positive pressure equilibrated) that together correctly assigned ears to group 2 at a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 83%. Individual parameters representing the efficiency of ET opening during swallowing showed moderately accurate assignments of ears to their respective groups. Three factors captured approximately 98% of the variance among parameters: the first had negative loadings of the ETF structural parameters; the second had positive loadings of the muscle-assisted ET opening parameters; and the third had negative loadings of the muscle-assisted ET opening parameters and positive loadings of the structural parameters. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE These results show that ETF tests can correctly assign individual ears to physician-diagnosed ETD with high sensitivity and specificity and that ETF test parameters can be grouped into structural-functional categories.
    JAMA otolaryngology-- head & neck surgery. 07/2013; 139(7):719-27.
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: In children with ventilation tubes (VTs) inserted for chronic otitis media with effusion (COME), the authors sought to determine whether any parameter of Eustachian tube (ET) function measured by the forced response test (FRT) predicts disease recurrence after the VT becomes nonfunctional. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective study of those factors that predict disease recurrence in children with VTs inserted for COME. METHODS: Forty-nine subjects (73 ears; 28 male, 34 white, aged 5.3 ± 1.2 years) with COME had VTs inserted and were evaluable for disease status after the VT(s) became nonfunctional. The FRT was done when the VTs were patent, and results for the last test before the VT became nonfunctional were used in the analysis. After each VT became nonfunctional, the children were followed for disease recurrence over a 12-month period. Logistic regression was used to determine whether the ET opening pressure, closing pressure, and/or dilatory efficiency predicted disease recurrence. That model was expanded to include age, sex, race, history of adenoidectomy, previous VTs, and duration of VT patency as potential predictive factors. RESULTS: Twenty-nine (40%) ears had recurrence of significant disease within 12 months after the VT became nonfunctional. For the complete logistic regression model, male gender (P = .03), nonwhite race (P = .02), shorter period of VT patency (P = .01), and low dilatory efficiency (P = .01) were significant predictors of disease recurrence. CONCLUSIONS: A measure of active ET function, dilatory efficiency, but not measures of passive function predicted disease recurrence within the 12 months after the VT became nonfunctional in children with COME. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4 Laryngoscope, 2013.
    The Laryngoscope 04/2013; · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective This report reviews the literature to identify the advances in our understanding of the middle ear (ME)-Eustachian tube (ET) system during the past 4 years and, on that basis, to determine whether the short-term goals elaborated in the last report were achieved and propose updated goals to guide future otitis media (OM) research. Data Sources Databases searched included PubMed, Web of Science (1945-present), Medline (1950 to present), Biosis Previews (1969-present), and the Zoological Record (1978 to present). The initial literature search covered the time interval from January 2007 to June 2011, with a supplementary search completed in February 2012. Review Methods The panel topic was subdivided; each contributor performed a literature search and provided a preliminary report. Those reports were consolidated and discussed when the panel met on June 9, 2011. At that meeting, the progress was evaluated and new short-term goals proposed. Conclusions Progress was made on 16 of the 19 short-term goals proposed in 2007. Significant advances were made in the characterization of ME gas exchange pathways, modeling ET function, and preliminary testing of treatments for ET dysfunction. Implications for Practice In the future, imaging technologies should be developed to noninvasively assess ME/ET structure and physiology with respect to their role in OM pathogenesis. The new data derived from form/function experiments should be integrated into the finite element models and used to develop specific hypotheses concerning OM pathogenesis and persistence. Finally, rigorous studies of treatments, medical or surgical, of ET dysfunction should be undertaken.
    Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery 04/2013; 148(4 Suppl):E26-36. · 1.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Eustachian tube function is stable over time in children with ventilation tubes for chronic otitis media with effusion. Clinical studies report that Eustachian tube function tests in patients with a persistent tympanic membrane perforation predict the success of myringoplasty, and those in patients with ventilation tubes for chronic otitis media predict disease recurrence after the tubes become nonfunctional. In those studies, Eustachian tube function was usually tested only once, which presumes a semi-stable basal level of function for greatest diagnostic and prognostic usefulness. We investigated the stability of repeated measurements of Eustachian tube function using the forced response test. Thirty-nine children aged 36 to 83 months with bilateral ventilation tubes for chronic otitis media with effusion were evaluated using the forced response test 3 times at 3- to 4-month intervals. The variability across test sessions in the Eustachian tube opening pressure, closing pressure, and dilatory efficiency was estimated using regression/correlation analyses. For all test parameters, the between-session and between-ear correlation coefficients were significant, but the shared variance in the parameters among test sessions and between ears at the same test session was relatively low. The average slope for each parameter as a function of the time with a ventilation tube was zero. The low between-test shared variance for the test parameters raises questions as to whether a single forced response test captures sufficient information to accurately diagnose the cause of any dysfunction or to predict with high specificity and sensitivity future disease experience or surgical results.
    Otology & neurotology: official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology 01/2013; 34(1):16-21. · 1.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: The Cephalic Index, an anthropometric measure of head shape, was reported to be different between individuals with and without signs of past or concurrent otitis media (OM). In this study, we compared the Cephalic Index and other measures of head shape among groups of children aged 36-48 months with a documented history of chronic OM with effusion (COME), recurrent acute OM (RAOM) and CONTROLS (few to no OM episodes) to test that hypothesis. METHODS: In 41 CONTROL, 36 COME and 42 RAOM children, Maximum Head Width, Maximum Head Length and Head Circumference were measured and the Cephalic Index (Head Width/Head Length×100) was calculated. The four measures were compared among the three groups using a General Linear Model that included group, sex and race as factors and age as a covariate. RESULTS: There were no differences among groups in the Cephalic Index or Head Length. Head Width was significantly smaller in the RAOM when compared to the CONTROL group and Head Circumference was significantly smaller in the RAOM and COME groups when compared to the CONTROL group. For all measures, the distribution of values showed significant overlap among groups. CONCLUSIONS: These results do not support the hypothesis that the Cephalic Index is different between young children with and without OM, but did document differences in Head Width and Circumference among groups. However, the large overlap in each measure for the three groups suggests that none capture sufficient information on Eustachian tube anatomy to predict disease presentation.
    International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology 12/2012; · 0.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We hypothesize that if otitis media is most likely primarily a human disease due to consequences of evolution, rhinosinusitis may also be limited to humans for similar reasons. If otitis media, with its associated hearing loss, occurred in animals in the wild, they probably would have been culled out by predation. Similarly, if rhinosinusitis occurred regularly in animals, they likely would have suffered from severely decreased olfactory abilities, crucial for predator avoidance, and presumably would likewise have been selected against evolutionarily. Thus, both otitis media and rhinosinusitis-common conditions particularly in infants and young children-appear to be essentially human conditions. Their manifestation in our species is likely due to our unique evolutionary trajectory and may be a consequence of adaptations, including adaptations to bipedalism and speech, loss of prognathism, and immunologic and environmental factors.
    Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery 09/2012; · 1.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the role played by the tensor veli palatini and levator veli palatini muscles (mTVP and mLVP, respectively) in eustachian tube (ET) opening. Prospective study. Research laboratories at a tertiary care hospital. Fifteen healthy adults with normal middle ears and documented ET openings. Submental and ground surface electrodes were placed. After anesthetizing and decongesting the nasal passages, paired electromyographic needle electrodes were inserted into both the mTVP and mLVP on the test side. A microphone was placed into the ipsilateral ear canal and the probe from a sound generator was introduced into the opposite nostril. A 45° telescope was used on the test side to video-record the soft palate and ET movements while the individual swallowed. Concurrent recordings of the ET openings by sonotubometry, the electromyographic activity for the LVP, TVP, and submental muscles, and video of the nasopharyngeal orifice of the ET during swallowing. During swallowing, the median peak amplitude and duration of ET openings by sonotubometry were 30.6 mV and 196 milliseconds, respectively. For the mLVP and mTVP, the median peak amplitudes were 0.33 and 0.82 mV, and peak durations were 131 and 85 milliseconds, respectively. The mean onsets of muscle activity referenced to the sonotubometry peak amplitude were -0.28, -0.24, and -0.14 milliseconds for the mLVP, mTVP, and submental muscles, respectively. Video recording of ET movements were consistent with the timing of these events. The mTVP activity had a shorter duration but greater amplitude than the mLVP activity and was associated with peak ET opening by sonotubometry. The mLVP activity occurred before that of the mTVP, the submental muscle group, and peak ET opening. The mLVP contractions were associated with movements of the soft palate, anterior ET orifice, and rotation of the ET cartilage.
    Archives of otolaryngology--head & neck surgery 07/2012; 138(8):741-6. · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: One past study conducted in 1986 reported Eustachian tube dilation with swallowing during the forced response test (FRT) in a very high percentage (>80%) of cleft palate patients both before and after palatoplasty. The present study was designed to determine the reproducibility of those results. The FRT was used to evaluate Eustachian tube function in a cohort of cleft palate children before and after palatoplasty. Pre-palatoplasty FRT data were available for 25 ears and post-palatoplasty data were available for 31 ears; 14 ears had paired pre-post palatoplasty test data. The results for the FRT tests were compared between the pre- and post-palatoplasty groups for the cross-sectional data and for the paired subset of ears. The 3 passive function measures of the FRT, the opening pressure, closing pressure and passive resistance were not different before and after palatoplasty for either data set. Similarly, 2 of the 3 active function measures, active resistance and dilatory efficiency, were not different pre- and post-palatoplasty, but the percent of ears evidencing tubal dilation for the cross-sectional data was 39% and 62% (p=NS) and for the paired subset was 33% and 83% (p=0.04) at the pre- and post-palatoplasty tests. Palatoplasty had no effect on most measures of the FRT, but may have had a positive effect on the ability to dilate the Eustachian tube during swallowing. The high frequency of ears with tubal dilation before palatoplasty reported in the 1986 study was not reproduced but that frequency after palatoplasty was similar.
    International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology 03/2012; 76(3):388-91. · 0.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study assessed the normal growth and development of mastoid air-cell system (MACS) geometry from infancy through adolescence. Cross-sectional study. This cross-sectional study evaluated the change with age in MACS volume, surface area, and surface area/volume ratio in 36 (72 ears) individuals aged 1.6 to 18 years with no history of middle ear disease. The three MACS parameters were reconstructed using computed tomography (CT) scans judged by a radiologist to be normal. Linear regression was used to determine the relationship between the left and right values of each parameter, and between those parameters and age for male and female subjects. For all three MACS parameters, the right and left values were highly correlated. MACS volume and surface area for male and female subjects showed an increase between 1 and 18 years. The surface area/volume ratio for males was independent of age but showed a shallow increase for females. When averaged across all ages, the ratio was similar to those previously reported. The growth trajectory for MACS volume observed in this study was not consistent with other cross-sectional studies employing planimetry or CT of normal subjects that reported inconsistent results. Because of its potential role as a susceptibility factor for otitis media and other otologic problems, it is important to describe the growth and development of MACS geometry. Additional well-controlled studies of this phenomenon are needed to clarify which of the growth trajectories actually describe the growth process for the three parameters of interest.
    The Laryngoscope 03/2012; 122(3):649-53. · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study describes the changes in mastoid air cell system (MACS) geometry with age in ears with a history of otitis media (OM), without (GR-I) or with (GR-II) middle ear fluid on the CT scan. Thirty-seven (74 MACSs) CT scans were selected to approximate 4 MACSs/year between 1 and 18 years. For each MACS, the volume, surface area and surface area/volume ratio were reconstructed using standard procedures. Correlation analysis was used to define the left-right relatedness for the geometric parameters, and regression analysis was used to determine the effect of age on those parameters for each group. Twenty scans were from female and 17 from males. Fluid was observed in 12 left, 4 right and 10 bilateral MACSs. The MACS volume and surface area of GR-I increased with age, were significantly greater than those for age-matched MACSs in GR-II, but show large variability. Those measures in GR-II were independent of age and a large percentage of these MACS volumes was <5 ml. The surface-area/volume ratio for MACSs in both groups was independent of age and group assignment. The left-right correlations for the three geometric parameters of the MACS were significant for all MACS in the two groups, and for bilateral MACS concordant for group assignment. The left-right correlations for surface area and volume were not significant for bilateral MACSs discordant for group assignment. These results suggest that: the growth of MACS volume and surface area is genetically programmed but that this is disrupted by long-lasting OM; the effect of OM on MACS growth may depend on the duration and timing of the disease, and the MACS surface area/volume ratio does not explain the effect of MACS volume on the rate of gas exchange between middle ear and blood.
    International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology 11/2011; 76(1):137-41. · 0.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We recently encountered a 15-year-old female with bilateral tympanostomy tubes who manifested persistent severe vertigo, at ground level, secondary to a unilateral middle-ear pressure of +200 mm H(2)O elicited by an obstructed tympanostomy tube in the presence of chronic nasal obstruction. We believe this is a previously unreported scenario in which closed-nose swallowing insufflated air into her middle ears, resulting in sustained positive middle-ear pressure in the ear with the obstructed tube. Swallowing, when the nose is obstructed, can result in abnormal negative or positive pressures in the middle ear, which has been termed the Toynbee phenomenon. In patients who have vertigo, the possibility that nasal obstruction and the Toynbee phenomenon are involved should be considered.
    The Laryngoscope 10/2011; 122(4):868-72. · 2.03 Impact Factor
  • F J Sheer, J D Swarts, S N Ghadiali
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    ABSTRACT: A primary etiological factor underlying chronic middle ear disease is an inability to open the collapsible Eustachian tube (ET). However, the structure-function relationships responsible for ET dysfunction in patient populations at risk for developing otitis media (OM) are not known. In this study, three-dimensional (3D) finite element (FE) modeling techniques were used to investigate how changes in biomechanical and anatomical properties influence opening phenomena in three populations: normal adults, young children and infants with cleft palate. Histological data was used to create anatomically accurate models and FE techniques were used to simulate tissue deformation and ET opening. Lumen dilation was quantified using a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) technique and a sensitivity analysis was performed to ascertain the relative importance of the different anatomical and tissue mechanical properties. Results for adults suggest that ET function is highly sensitive to tensor veli palatini muscle (TVPM) forces and to periluminal mucosal tissue (PMT) elasticity. Young children and cleft palate subjects exhibited reduced sensitivity to TVPM forces while changes in PMT stiffness continued to have a significant impact on ET function. These results suggest that reducing PMT stiffness might be an effective way to restore ET function in these populations. Varying TVPM force vector relationships via changes in hamulus location had no effect on ET opening in young children and cleft palate subjects but did alter force transmission to the ET lumen during conditions of elevated adhesion. These models have therefore provided important new insights into the biomechanical mechanisms responsible for ET dysfunction.
    Medical Engineering & Physics 10/2011; 34(5):605-16. · 1.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: When used to test 3-year-old children within 3 months of tympanostomy tube placement for recurrent acute otitis media (rAOM) or chronic otitis media with effusion (cOME) the forced response test (FRT) showed relatively minor differences in the active and passive functions of the eustachian tube. While the sample size was small, the high variability in all test parameters suggests that the FRT alone is not capable of distinguishing between children with different expressions of otitis media. The FRT was designed to measure the passive and active properties of the eustachian tube. We evaluated the ability of that test to discriminate groups of children with rAOM or cOME. Twenty-two ears (15 children) with a confirmed history of rAOM and 24 ears (17 children) with a confirmed history of cOME were tested at 3 years of age within 3 months of ventilation tube placement. The parameters of the FRT were compared between these groups using a two-tailed Student's t test and the frequencies of ears evidencing eustachian tube dilation with swallowing were compared between groups using a χ(2) test. Passive resistance and one measure of active function were significantly higher in the rAOM group. The frequency of tubal dilation was not significantly different between groups. There were no differences in any of the FRT measures between cOME ears that did and did not have acute otitis media by history.
    Acta oto-laryngologica 08/2011; 131(11):1150-4. · 0.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective : To characterize Eustachian tube function using the forced response test in young children with cleft palate with or without cleft lip after palatoplasty with tympanostomy tubes inserted prepalatoplasty and compare these results with those of a 1986 study that evaluated a similar population using identical methods. Setting : Outpatient research clinic. Patients/Participants : A total of 34 children with cleft palate were tested at an average age of 18.6 ± 4.0 months. Main Outcome Measures : Passive and active measures for the forced response test. Results : Of the sample, 13 ears could not be tested, and tests on 24 ears were incomplete. The forced response test showed that the passive Eustachian tube function parameters were similar to those of normal adults and children. The percentage of ears that showed tubal dilation with swallowing was 60%. The active resistance and dilatory efficiency were similar to those of a normal adult population. Conclusions : A 1986 study of Eustachian tube function in postpalatoplasty subjects with cleft palate (37 ears) aged 15 to 26 months documented Eustachian tube dilation with swallowing in 84% of the ears. In the present study, which focused on a similar population, the frequency of tubal dilation was 60%. Nonetheless, both frequencies are significantly greater than the dilation frequency of 27% reported for 56 ears of subjects with cleft palate tested between 3 months and 18 years with tympanostomy tubes inserted for persistent otitis media with effusion. This suggests that dilation during the forced response test may be a prognostic marker for those children with cleft palate who will resolve their ear disease at an early age.
    The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal 07/2011; 49(4):504-7. · 1.11 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

500 Citations
106.43 Total Impact Points


  • 2000–2014
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • • Department of Otolaryngology
      • • Division of Pediatric Pathology at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2011
    • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1994–2011
    • Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh
      • Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ENT)
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
    • Riley Hospital for Children
      Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
  • 2004
    • Lehigh University
      • Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
      Bethlehem, PA, United States
  • 1997
    • University of Colorado
      • Department of Otolaryngology
      Denver, Colorado, United States
  • 1995
    • University of Colorado at Boulder
      Boulder, Colorado, United States
    • University of Colorado Hospital
      Denver, Colorado, United States