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This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of and risk factors for Eustachian tube dysfunction leading to middle-ear pathology in patients on chronic mechanical ventilation via tracheostomy tube.
A total of 40 patients on chronic ventilation were included in a prospective cohort study. Middle-ear status was determined by tympanometry. Tympanograms were categorised as types A, B or C; types B and C were defined as middle-ear pathology.
In all, 57 ears of 40 patients were examined. Disease was found in at least 1 ear in 26 out of 40 patients. Middle-ear pathology was found in 25 out of 34 patients who were tube fed (via nasogastric tube or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) vs 1 patient out of the 6 fed orally (p = 0.014), and in 23 out of 31 with conscious or cognitive impairment vs 3 out of 9 cognitively intact patients (p = 0.044).
Middle-ear pathology is common in patients on chronic mechanical ventilation via tracheostomy tube. The highest prevalence was in those with impaired consciousness or cognition, and oral feeding appeared protective.
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