Cleft Palate is a craniofacial syndrome in which the two plates that form the hard palate are not completely joined. As a result, the soft tissue anatomy of the Eustachian Tube (ET) is altered. The ET is a collapsible tube which connects the middle ear (ME) with the nasopharynx (NP). The ET must be periodically opened to equalize ME and NP pressures and drain ME fluids. In healthy adults, ET openings occur during swallowing, where muscle contraction deforms the surrounding soft tissue. However, changes in tissue anatomy may lead to ET dysfunction (i.e. closure during swallowing) and the development of ME disorders such as Otitis Media (OM). These disorders are especially problematic in infants with cleft palate as they hinder speech, hearing and psychosocial development. Although surgical procedures can be used to repair a cleft palate, these procedures do not typically account the possible development of ET dysfunction and/or OM.
Fluid Structure Interactions in the Eustachain Tube Under Normal and Pathological Conditions
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Warrick, AE, Swarts, JD, & Ghadiali, SN. "Fluid Structure Interactions in the Eustachain Tube Under Normal and Pathological Conditions." Proceedings of the ASME 2007 Summer Bioengineering Conference. ASME 2007 Summer Bioengineering Conference. Keystone, Colorado, USA. June 20–24, 2007. pp. 451-452. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/SBC2007-175328
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