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Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2008 May;117(5):335-40.

Results of sonotubometry in testing eustachian tube ventilatory function in children with cleft palate.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



In previous studies, an updated sonotubometry setup was tested in healthy adults and children to test its validity and reproducibility in the assessment of the ventilatory function of the eustachian tube (ET). The results were promising, but further investigations were needed to confirm the discriminative potential of this sonotubometry setup. Our objective in the present study was to test the discriminative potential of an updated sonotubometry setup in children with cleft palate.


The ET ventilatory function was tested in 56 children with cleft palate, ie, children with impaired ET function, and compared to the outcomes in 61 healthy children who served as a control group. All of the children were between 5 and 9 years of age. To test the reproducibility, we performed the sonotubometric testing in 2 sessions of 10 acts of swallowing each. Spearman's coefficient was used to test the correlation between the 2 sets of measurements. The results of measurements in the cleft palate group were compared with those in the otologically healthy control group and analyzed by means of a Mann-Whitney U test.


Opening of the ET was recorded in at least 1 of the 2 measurement sessions in 57% of the children with cleft palate, as compared to 82% in the control group. The mean number of openings was lower in the cleft palate group than in the control group (respectively, 2.3 versus 3.7 out of 10; p < .01). The first and second sessions were highly correlated in both the cleft palate group and the control group, with Spearman's coefficients of, respectively, 0.96 and 0.89.


The results of this study show that this updated sonotubometry setup has the potential to discriminate between these groups of children with various states of ET ventilatory function. Furthermore, the results of this study once again show that this updated sonotubometry setup is capable of assessing ET ventilatory function in both healthy children and children with cleft palate and that the measurements are highly reproducible. A persistent disadvantage remains that in 18% of the 61 healthy children there was no ET opening that could be registered, which still prohibits a definite assessment at the individual level.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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