Valsalva Maneuver

A Valsalva maneuver is an effort to exhale without letting air escape through the nose or mouth. People often use a Valsalva maneuver during some common activities, such as straining to have a bowel movement or blowing a stuffy nose.

A Valsalva maneuver is not normally harmful. But it may cause irregular heart rhythms in some people who have certain types of heart disease.

A person may be asked to do a Valsalva maneuver during certain medical tests or exams. During the test, a person is asked to try to breathe out using the stomach muscles and diaphragm but not let any air out through the nose or mouth.

Current as of: August 5, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology