New Scoring System for Evaluating Patulous Eustachian Tube Patients

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Objective:To assess the efficacy of patulous Eustachian tube handicap inventory (PHI) for patulous Eustachian tube (PET) patients.Study Design:Prospective.Setting:Tertiary referral center.Subjects:A prospective survey of medical records in Sen-En Hospital identified 31 ears of 31 patients with definite PET who received insertion of the silicone plug as surgical treatment group, 29 ears of 29 patients treated with self-instillation of physiological saline solution as conservative treatment group, and 29 ears of 29 patients of sensorineural hearing loss without findings of PET treated between June 2015 and December 2015.Method:Diagnosis of definite PET was based on the proposal on PET diagnosis criteria announced by the Otological Society of Japan. The evaluation scale of PHI was modified from the Japanese version of the tinnitus handicap inventory-12 (THI-12). The classification for grading of severity is defined as follows: 1) no handicap (0–8), 2) mild handicap (10–16), 3) moderate handicap (18–24), and 4) severe handicap (26–40), matching the severity grades of tinnitus handicap inventory-25 (THI-25). The outcome measurement was modified from the previous scoring system and is defined as 1) complete relief, 2) significant improvement, 3) slight improvement, 4) unchanged, and 5) worse, and is applied according to the classification for grading of severity. The PHI was conducted at the first visit to our center for all patients in the three groups. For cases requiring surgery for plug insertion, patulous Eustachian tube handicap inventory 10 (PHI 10) was also conducted postsurgery after the treatment (postsurgery).Results:The findings from questions 1 to 7 and 9 to 11 were significantly different between the surgical (presurgery) and conservative treatment groups (p < 0.05). Taking these results, we analyzed 10 questions excluding questions 8 and 12 (PHI 10). The total score of PHI 10 averaged 19.5 ± 9.3 (n = 31) and 30.6 ± 8.6 (n = 29) in the surgical treatment (presurgery) and conservative treatment groups, respectively, with a significant difference (p < 0.05). Internal consistency reliability testing of the PHI 10 yielded a Cronbach α of 0.887 for all questions. In the surgical treatment (presurgery) and conservative treatment groups, there were 0 (0%) and 3 cases (12%) of no handicap, 3 (10%) and 13 cases (50%) of mild handicap, 6 (19%) and 4 cases (15%) of moderate handicap, and 22 (71%) and 6 cases (23%) of severe handicap, respectively. There was a significant correlation between the PHI 10 and Likert scale (r = 0.796, p < 0.01). In the surgical group, the presurgery and postsurgery PHI 10 scores (n = 25) were 29.6 ± 8.5 and 7.8 ± 11.3, respectively.Conclusion:The PHI 10 is suitable for evaluating severity of PET if the patients have been diagnosed as definite PET. Furthermore, this scoring system could be suitable for surgical treatment assessment.

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