CT imaging of the Eustachian tube using focal contrast medium administration: a feasibility study in humans.Acta Radiol Open. 2020 Jan; 9(1):2058460119900435.AR
Several methods of imaging the Eustachian tube have been tested in the last century, although neither has led to an established method. The introduction of balloon Eustachian tuboplasty (BET) has revived the request for Eustachian tube (ET) visualization in patients with chronic Eustachian tube dysfunction. Many institutions perform preoperative computed tomography (CT) scans of the temporal bone and epipharynx before BET. Purpose We hypothesize that the injection of a contrast medium into the tympanic cavity is safe and feasible and can evolve the CT scan by visualizing the ET lumen and, potentially, the level of obstruction. This study is the initial feasibility study for such a human application. Material and Methods Ten minutes before a CT scan, diluted iodixanol was injected into the middle ear in 18 patients planned for BET due to otitis media with effusion. Five patients with Meniere's disease were controls. Any immediate or delayed adverse events were recorded. Masking of adjacent bony structures in the middle ear on the CT images was evaluated and the most caudally visible contrast medium between the middle ear and epipharynx recorded. Results There were no serious adverse events. One patient reported transitory vertigo. The contrast medium did not mask middle ear structures, apart from the tympanic membrane. The level of contrast medium passage could be assessed. Conclusion Visualizing the ET lumen in humans using intratympanic contrast medium is feasible and safe and does not obscure other valuable image information in a preoperative CT scan.