Dried salted plum consumption ameliorates hyperbaric oxygen therapy-induced otalgia severity at the first chamber session: A prospective randomized controlled study

Fan Chun Meng, Chih Hao Shen, Chi Ming Chu, Cheng Ping Shih, Hung Che Lin, Chung Kan Peng, Shun Cheng Chang, Kun Lun Huang

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PURPOSE: One of the most common complications of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO₂) therapy is middle ear barotrauma (MEB), occasionally causing otalgia. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of dried salted plum consumption on MEB and otalgia associated with HBO₂ therapy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients undergoing the first chamber session of HBO₂ therapy were included in the present prospective randomized controlled trial. The Valsalva maneuver was administered to all patients before HBO₂. The patients were randomly divided into two groups: one that ate a dried salted plum during HBO₂ treatment and the other that did not. An otoscopic examination was performed after HBO₂ therapy. The MEB was graded according to Teed scores. The degree of otalgia was recorded using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS).

RESULTS: Ninety patients were enrolled. The overall incidence of MEB (Teed score grade 1~4) was 39.6% (21 of 53) for patients administered a dried salted plum versus 37.8% (14 of 37) for the control group (P=1.000). The incidence of mild MEB (Teed score grade 1~2) and severe MEB (Teed score Grade 3~4) between the two groups was not significantly different. Otalgia was present in 5.7% (3 of 53) of patients administered a dried salted plum versus 18.9% (7 of 37) for the control group (P=.085). No patients administered a dried salted plum had a VAS score ≥4 for otalgia versus 10.8% (4 of 37) for the control group (P=.026).

CONCLUSIONS: Dried salted plum consumption does not decrease the incidence of MEB, but may ameliorate the severity of first chamber session HBO₂-induced otalgia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-557
Number of pages7
JournalUndersea and Hyperbaric Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2017



  • dried salted plum
  • Eustachian tube
  • hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • middle ear barotrauma
  • otalgia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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