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Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1976 Jan-Feb;85(1 Pt 1):61-4.

Sinus barotrauma in divers.


Sinus barotrauma is a common occupational disease of divers, with the incidence of descent barotrauma approximately double that of ascent. Pain chronologically associated with the change of pressure is the most dominant symptom and is seen in 92% of the cases presented for treatment. The majority complain of a frontal distribution of pain, with ethmoidal and maxillary being much less significant. Epistaxis is the second commonest symptom, and may be the sole symptom in some ascent cases. A history of recent or past sinus barotrauma or upper respiratory tract pathology is very common. Clinical examination supports the evidence of upper respiratory tract pathology in many cases. The radiological signs of abnormality were present in over three quarters of the cases examined. Of these the maxillary sinus was affected in most cases, the frontal in approximately one quarter and the ethmoidal in less than a fifth. The pathology was more commonly that of mucosal thickening, but in 12% of cases there was a fluid level. It is noted that although symptoms were predominantly frontal, x-ray changes were most often present in the maxillary sinuses.

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