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Valsalva test

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A general screening test in which the patient is asked to perform a Valsalva manoeuvre, usually to monitor heart conditions and identify any carciac abnormalities.


The Valsalva manouevre is done by closing the mouth and pinching the nostrils followed by blowing hard so that the cheeks puff up and air is forced from the throat into the ears via eustachian tubes. (A modified version is done by expiring against a closed glottis, which will elicit the cardiovascular responses but will not force the air into the eustachian tubes.) Performing the manoeuvre is strongly discouraged when done without medical supervision as it may cause or lead to dizziness, fainting or heart attack, especially in people with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease.

Word origin: named after Antonio Maria Valsalva (1666-1723), an Italian physician and anatomist, who first described it.

Also called: Valsalva method

See also: Valsalva maneuver