Valsalva manoeuvre

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A man performing a Valsalva manoeuvre during an examination

Alternative forms[edit]


Named after Italian anatomist Antonio Maria Valsalva (1666–1723), whose research focused on the ears.


Valsalva manoeuvre (plural Valsalva manoeuvres)

  1. (medicine) A self-administered procedure comprising an attempted exhalation against a closed airway, usually performed by closing one's mouth and pinching one's nose shut while attempting, with moderate force, to expel air.
    Variations of the Valsalva manoeuvre can be used during medical examination.
    • 1983, Roger Bannister, Autonomic Failure, Oxford University Press, page 426,
      We observed forearm vasodilatation following the Valsalva manoeuvre in 11 out of 19 normal subjects; the remainder showed a persistent forearm vasoconstriction (Bennett et al. 1979b).
    • 2018, Alex Blasdel, Bowel movement: the push to change the way you poo, in The Guardian,
      When that time comes, a person may perform the Valsalva manoeuvre, increasing the pressure inside the abdomen by exhaling against a closed airway as if popping one’s ears on a flight.
    • 2019, David Chambers, Christopher Huang, Gareth Matthews, Basic Physiology for Anaesthetists, Cambridge University Press, 2nd Edition, page 175,
      The Valsalva manoeuvre is performed by forced expiration against a closed glottis. It is attributed to Antonio Valsalva (1666–1723), who described it as a test of Eustachian tube patency and as a method of expelling pus from the middle ear.



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