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Relation between temporal bone pneumatisation and middle-ear barotrauma in aircrew members

  • A Hussein (a1), H M Abdel Tawab (a1), W T Lotfi (a2), N Fayad (a3) and N Elsisy (a4)...



This study aimed to assess the potential role of pneumatisation of the mastoid and its communicating air cells in the development of middle-ear barotrauma in aircrew members.


Seventy-nine aircrew members (158 ears) underwent temporal computed tomography. All were assessed before flying by clinical examination and audiology evaluation, followed by post-flight examination to detect barotrauma.


Aircrew members’ ears were divided into 3 groups based on barotrauma and temporal bone pneumatisation: 33 ears with barotrauma and temporal bone pneumatisation of 71 cm3 or greater (group A); 12 ears with barotrauma and temporal bone pneumatisation of 11.2 cm3 or lower (group B); and 113 ears with no barotrauma (group C). Mean pneumatisation volumes were 91.05 cm3, 5.45 cm3 and 28.01 cm3 in groups A, B and C, respectively. A direct relationship was observed between volume of temporal bone pneumatisation of 71 cm3 or greater and barotrauma grade.


Pneumatisation volume of the mastoid and its communicating air cells that ranges from 11.3 cm3 to 70.4 cm3 serves as a reliable predictor of the avoidance of middle-ear barotrauma associated with flying in aircrew members who have normal resting middle-ear pressure and good Eustachian tube function.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Dr Ahmed Hussein, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt E-mail:


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Dr A Hussein takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper



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Relation between temporal bone pneumatisation and middle-ear barotrauma in aircrew members

  • A Hussein (a1), H M Abdel Tawab (a1), W T Lotfi (a2), N Fayad (a3) and N Elsisy (a4)...


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