Autoinflation devices are commonly used for otitis media with effusion and Eustachian tube dysfunction. Generally, these are very safe devices, with few or no complications.
This paper presents a case study of pneumocephalus and orbital emphysema, associated with the use of an autoinflation device, in a 73-year-old woman with Eustachian tube dysfunction and otitis media with effusion, and a history of extensive endoscopic sinus surgery 13 years previously.
A literature review showed autoinflation-related pneumocephalus in patients with skull base defects relating to cranial surgery or tumours; however, this has not been described previously with the Otovent system or its use in relation to functional endoscopic sinus surgery. Given the theoretical risk of undetected bony abnormalities in post-operative functional endoscopic sinus surgery patients, it is suggested that autoinflation devices are used cautiously in patients with a history of sinus surgery.