Valsalva maneuver

Valsalva maneuver

The Valsalva maneuver is performed by forcibly exhaling against a closed airway. Variations of the maneuver can be used either in medicine, as a test of cardiac function and autonomic nervous control of the heart or to ‘clear’ the ears and sinuses (equalize pressure) when ambient pressure changes, as in diving or aviation.

The technique is named after Antonio Maria Valsalva, the 17th Century physician and anatomist from Bologna, whose principal scientific interest was the human ear. He described the Eustachian tube and the maneuver to test its patency (openness). He also described the use of this maneuver to expel pus from the middle ear.

A modified version is done by expiring against a closed glottis. This will elicit the cardiovascular responses described below but will not force air into the eustachian tubes.

Physiological response

The normal physiological response consists of 4 phases, which are marked on the figure at right: [] It presents as preretinal hemorrhage (bleeding in front of the retina) in people with a history of transient increase in the intrathoracic pressure. The bleeding may be associated with a history of heavy lifting, a forceful coughing, straining on the toilet, or vomiting. The bleeding may cause a reduction of vision if it obstructs the visual axis. Patients may also note floaters in their vision. Usually a full recovery of vision is made.

ee also

*Ear clearing


This orthopedic test also can be a positive for a SOL/ space occupying lesion, e.g. Tumor (benign or malignant), clot, or anything taking up space where there is normally no space to be occupied.

External links

* [ Definitions of various clinical tests for neuropathy]
* [ More on the topic of Valsalva retinopathy]
* [ More on the topic of Vitreous hemorrhage]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Valsalva maneuver — [val sal′və] n. [after Antonio Valsalva (1666 1723), It anatomist] any forced expiratory effort against a closed or blocked air passage, as blowing hard with nose and mouth closed during an ascent or descent in an aircraft to equalize pressure in …   English World dictionary

  • Valsalva maneuver — A maneuver in which a person tries to exhale forcibly with a closed glottis (the windpipe) so that no air exits through the mouth or nose as, for example, in strenuous coughing, straining during a bowel movement, or lifting a heavy weight. The… …   Medical dictionary

  • Valsalva maneuver — /val sal veuh/ a forced expiratory effort against a closed glottis that decreases intrathoracic pressure, hampering venous return to the heart, and that can be used to inflate the Eustachian tubes and adjust pressure in the middle ear. [named… …   Universalium

  • Valsalva maneuver — noun Etymology: Antonio Maria Valsalva died 1723 Italian anatomist Date: 1886 a forceful attempt at expiration when the airway is closed at some point; especially a conscious attempt made while holding the nostrils closed and keeping the mouth… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Valsalva maneuver — Val•sal′va maneu ver [[t]vælˈsæl və[/t]] n. med an attempt to expel air against a closed glottis or closed lips and nostrils, used for adjusting pressure in the middle ear • Etymology: after Antonio M. Valsalva (1666–1723), Italian anatomist who… …   From formal English to slang

  • valsalva maneuver — (ˌ)valˌsalvə noun Usage: usually capitalized V Etymology: after Antonio Valsalva died 1723 Italian anatomist : the inflation of the middle ear by closing the mouth and nostrils and blowing so as to puff out the cheeks …   Useful english dictionary

  • valsalva maneuver — The procedure of raising the pressure in the nasal passage or the naspharynx by forcible expiration with the mouth closed and the nostrils pinched to clear the eustachian tubes. This maneuver usually is executed during descent in response to a… …   Aviation dictionary

  • Valsalva maneuver (experiment method test) etc. — Val·sal·va maneuver (experiment, method, test), etc. (vahl sahlґvə) [Antonio Maria Valsalva, Italian anatomist, 1666–1723] see under maneuver, and see sinus aortae …   Medical dictionary

  • Valsalva experiment — Valsalva maneuver (def. 1) …   Medical dictionary

  • Valsalva method — Valsalva maneuver (def. 2) …   Medical dictionary