The Valsalva Manoeuvre: A critical review.

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Title: The Valsalva Manoeuvre: A critical review.
Author: Taylor, D
Abstract: The Valsalva manoeuvre is commonly used in diving to equalize middle ear pressures during descent. A forceful expiration with the nostrils and mouth held shut results in an increased nasopharyngeal pressure and opening of the Eustachian tubes. The correctly performed manoeuvre is easily taught, effective and usually without complications. When performed incorrectly, prolonged periods of raised intrathoracic pressure may lead to decreased venous return, decreased arterial pressure and increased pressures within the superior and inferior vena cavae. An intact autonomic nervous system will initiate compensatory cardiovascular reflexes. The manoeuvre has clinical and research uses which rely on induced physiological changes and the initiation of reflex responses. The physiology and clinical uses of the manoeuvre are discussed. The inappropriate use of the manoeuvre has been associated with significant morbidity. This includes pulmonary and aural barotrauma, hyper- and hypotension, cardiac arrhythmias, arterial and venous haemorrhage, gastric reflux and stress incontinence. The complications of the manoeuvre are discussed.
Description: Journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society.
Date: 1996

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