Timing of tensor and levator veli palatini force application determines eustachian tube resistance patterns during the forced-response test.Auris Nasus Larynx. 2010 Dec; 37(6):720-9.AN
The forced-response test (FRT) is used to assess eustachian tube (ET) function in patients with middle ear disease (otitis media). This test often documents a dynamic pattern of luminal dilation and constriction during swallowing which can be quantified as a function relating active tubal resistance with time. The goal of this study is to use a generalized finite element model (FEM) to test the hypothesis that the relative timing of muscle force application by the tensor veli palatini muscle (mTVP) and levator veli palatini muscle (mLVP) on the ET determines the form of active resistance functions.
Seven resistance waveforms were obtained during the FRT in five adult subjects. A 2D FEM of the ET was constructed from an adult histological specimen and viscoelastic tissue mechanical properties were specified based on measurements obtained in each subject. Least-squared regression routines were used to vary the timing and magnitude of mTVP and mLVP force applications to the ET in order to match the active resistance functions recorded during the FRT.
Variation of muscle force timing and magnitude in the FEM simulations reproduced the seven active resistance waveforms with high fidelity. Early application of mTVP force in combination with mLVP force produced a waveform characterized by an initial dilation (low resistances) followed by lumen constriction (higher resistances), while delayed mTVP force application caused an initial lumen constriction followed by dilation.
These results indicate that the active resistance waveforms observed during the FRT reflect differences in the temporal pattern of mLVP and mTVP force application to the ET and emphasize that, like the mTVP, the mLVP functionally interacts with the ET. Results also indicate that in normal adults contraction of the mLVP promotes lumen constriction and that the initial lumen constriction is highly sensitive to the relative delay timing of mTVP and mLVP force application.