Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003 May;128(5):732-41.

Rate of nitrous oxide exchange across the middle ear mucosa in monkeys before and after blockage of the mastoid antrum.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, 3705 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 USA. Docdoyle2@aol.com



We tested the hypothesis that mastoid volume buffers the rate of change in middle ear pressure caused by transmucosal, inert gas exchange.


Twelve monkeys were randomly assigned to group 1 or group 2. Right ears of group 1 had sham surgery and of group 2 had obstruction of the mastoid antrum. Before and after surgery, the time constant for transmucosal N(2)O exchange was estimated from N(2)O breathing experiments. The hypothesis predicts that the postoperative time constant measured for right ears of group 2 but not group 1 is greater than that measured before surgery.


Mastoid antrum block significantly decreased right middle ear volume but did not affect the time constant for transmucosal N(2)O exchange.


A mastoid gas-reserve function is not supported by the experimental data.


These results for monkeys and the theory developed to explain the effect of mastoid volume on transmucosal inert gas exchange suggest that the results for previous experiments in humans interpreted as evidencing a mastoid gas-reserve function are consistent with alternative explanations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk