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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2002 Jul;93(1):304-10.

Segmental analysis of nasal cavity compliance by acoustic rhinometry.

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  • 1INSERM U492, Service d'ORL et de Chirurgie cervico-faciale des Hôpitaux Intercommunal et Henri Mondor, Service de Physiologie-Explorations Fonctionnelles, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Créteil, France.


To explore the determinants of possible collapse of the nasal valve region, a common cause of nasal obstruction, we evaluated the mechanical properties of the nasal wall. In this study, we determined the nasal cross-sectional area-to-negative pressure ratio (nasal wall compliance) in the anterior part of the nose in six healthy subjects by measuring nasal area by acoustic rhinometry at pressures ranging from atmospheric pressure to a negative pressure of -10 cmH(2)O. Measurements were performed at baseline and after nasal mucosal decongestion (oxymetazoline). At baseline, nasal wall compliance increased progressively from the nasal valve (0.031 +/- 0.016 cm2/cmH(2)O, mean +/- SD) to the anterior and medial part of the inferior turbinate (0.045 +/- 0.024 cm2/cmH(2)O) and to the middle meatus region (0.056 +/- 0.029 cm2/cmH(2)O). After decongestant, compliances decreased and became similar in the three regions. On the basis of these results, we hypothesize that compliance of the nasal wall is partly related to mucosal blood volume and quantity of vascular tissue, which differ in the three regions, increasing from the nasal valve to the middle meatus.

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