MedClinic > Blog > ENT > Auditory tube Catheterisation


Catheterisation of the auditory tube is a medical procedure during which a Hartmann cannula is inserted into the Eustachian tube (auditory tube). A special catheter has the appearance of a flexible metal tube, with a funnel-shaped expansion on it. Catheterisation of the auditory tube is performed for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

In what cases is catheterisation prescribed?

Middle ear catheterisation is performed to treat and diagnose ear diseases. The following factors are an indication for the procedure of introducing a catheter into the middle ear:

  • diagnostics of the ventilation tube;
  • to study the drainage in the auditory tube;
  • diagnostics of ventilation passability of the auditory tube;
  • treatment of tubootitis;
  • administration of drugs through a catheter;
  • an alternative treatment when it is impossible to carry out politzerization.

Features of preparation for the procedure

Catheterisation of the auditory tube is a simple procedure that does not require any special preparation measures. The only thing that needs to be done is to clear the ear canals of mucus and sulfur. It is recommended to do this in the doctor’s office.

It is not possible to independently clean the ear canals with a cotton swab. Using this method leads to the fact that sulfur and dirt only penetrate deeper into the ear cavity.

Immediately before the procedure, the ear canal is irrigated with a special solution with a vasoconstrictive effect to reduce swelling.


Catheterisation of the auditory tube is performed with rhinoscopy. The doctor carefully inserts a catheter into the nasal sinus, whose beak looks down. The catheter is guided to the back of the throat. When the device is rested against the wall, the doctor turns it so that the beak is in the middle, and begins to pull back until the device reaches the middle nasal septum (opener).

Further, the doctor begins to rotate the beak of the catheter to the lateral side. When the catheter enters the auditory tube, a feeling of falling will occur. During the entire procedure, the patient constantly hears tinnitus, this is due to the control of the location of the catheter with the help of air, which is blown through the device.

In what cases is catheterisation forbidden?

The auditory tube catheterisation is not performed in the presence of certain diseases and pathological processes in the body:

  • acute sinus disease;
  • purulent otitis media;
  • neurological abnormalities;
  • mental illness;
  • epilepsy;
  • Parkinson’s disease.

Possible complications

Catheterisation of the auditory tube is a medical procedure, which, although not complicated in its technique, carries the risks of complications associated with the features of the anatomical structure of the nasopharynx and oropharynx. Possible complications that occur after the procedure are as follows:

  • nasal bleeding;
  • wounding of the mucous membrane of the nasal sinuses and pharynx;
  • emphysema affecting peripharyngeal tissue.

The risks of complications after catheterisation are increased if the patient has polyps in the nose and has narrow nasal passages.

Disadvantages of catheterisation

Catheterisation of the auditory tube, the price of which depends on the qualifications of the doctor and the clinic, is performed invasively, which means that there are always risks of injury to the mucous membranes. Catheterisation is rather unpleasant, and if a person has an unstable psyche, fainting conditions are possible. Today, this method of studying the condition of the ears is not used so often, as preference is given to minimally invasive techniques – otoscopy, endoscopy.