The Valsalva maneuver has a number of purposes, but perhaps it is most commonly used for equalizing pressure in the middle ears, like when flying out of Texas Gulf Coast Regional Airport. We review information about the Valsalva maneuver, including how to perform it, how effective it is and other uses for it, below.
How Can I Perform the Valsalva Maneuver?
In order for you to perform the Valsalva maneuver, you need to complete the following steps:
- Pinch your nostrils closed.
- Close your mouth.
- Exhale, as if you’re trying to inflate a balloon.
- Continue doing this for 10 to 15 seconds.
The Valsalva maneuver can be performed while sitting or lying down.
How Effective Is the Valsalva Maneuver?
Thirty-nine ears in 32 adult patients diagnosed with otitis media with effusion (fluid trapped in the middle ear) were included in the study. The participants performed the Valsalva maneuver multiple times a day for one week without receiving any other interventions.
The average duration of otitis media among the participants was 30.9 days. The success rate of one week of the Valsalva maneuver was up to 64.1%. In addition, hearing was significantly recovered in the success group.
The researchers reported, “One-week Valsalva maneuver seems to be considered as a first line therapeutic modality in otitis media with effusion in adult patients who demonstrate the successful maneuver result on oto-endoscopic examination.”
Other Uses for the Valsalva Maneuver
A few other uses for the Valsalva maneuver include:
- Restoring heart rhythm. Since the Valsalva maneuver shifts blood pressure and heart rate, it can sometimes restore a normal heart rhythm when you’re experiencing tachycardia (abnormally fast heart rate).
- Diagnosing ANS disorder. The Valsalva maneuver can also help your doctor identify problems with your sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve functions.
To learn more about the Valsalva maneuver or to schedule an appointment with an ear, nose and throat (ENT) expert, call Lake Jackson ENT today.