DiscovEAR: An endoscopic attachment system for visualization of the Eustachian tube lumen


Program: Biomedical Engineering

Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is a disease affecting about 11 million Americans.3 Treatment options are limited due to the lack of accuracy and specificity in diagnosing ETD. Current treatments, such as balloon dilation, are shown to exhibit diminished therapeutic benefits in the short term for over one-third of treated patients and cause a more severe form of ETD in nearly 10% of treated patients due to the lack of sufficient diagnostic guidance.4,5 To improve diagnosis and treatment selection for ETD, otolaryngologists need a reliable method to assess the anatomy and function of the Eustachian tube. We designed a visualization system incorporating a distal attachment and antifouling coating to enable an existing miniature endoscope to overcome the visualization challenges present in the ET space and visualize the ET lumen. The attachment allows visualization of the ET lumen, which is otherwise collapsed, without the need for air or fluid insufflation that can distort ET function and be unsafe in the ear. The system provides direct visualization of the mucosa inside the ET and a clinically more detailed and accurate diagnosis of pathologies that may underlie ETD. The functionality of the distal attachment was tested and verified in a human cadaver head using a 2.2mm-diameter borescope. The system was capable of cannulating the ET orifice from the nasopharynx and provided the visibility necessary to assess ET anatomy and function. Future in vivo testing may further demonstrate the utility of the visualization system for the diagnosis and treatment of ETD.

Daniel Sun (Clinical Mentor)
Carrie Nieman (Clinical Mentor)
Constanza Miranda (BME Mentor)
Christina Hummel (TA)
Garret Bonnema (Committee Member)
George Coles (Committee Member)

Team Members

  • Ivan Vuong
  • Trifeena James
  • Angie Alvarado
  • Xinying Chu
  • Celia Quintana
  • Cristian Aeloiza Sanchez
  • Hannah Puhov
  • Sneha Raj

Project Links

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