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Short Term Management of Vocal Fold Paralysis

Vocal cord paralysis is commonly encountered by ENT surgeons. The standard management usually involves waiting for 6-12 months to assess for recovery or reinnervation. During this time, the patient usually experiences poor quality voice, ineffective cough, and aspiration which may result in pneumonia. Management of these patients includes a search for the aetiology and often requires speech therapy. In addition to this, a reversible, office-based early injection laryngoplasty can minimize the patient morbidity of impaired vocal fold mobility while maximizing glottal function and improving phonatory quality. Methods: A retrospective study was conducted on consecutive patients with unilateral vocal cord paralysis. Voice handicap index, basic and aerodynamic/acoustic data were collected at the initial assessment and following intervention. Intervention consisted of an office-based, unsedated, paraglottic injection of hyaluronic acid to the effected side. All patients underwent videostroboscopy before, during and after office intervention and subjective assessment of these recordings was made. Patients also completed the voice related quality of life. Results: All 185 patients tolerated office-based injection well with no adverse events. All patients experienced an improvement in glottal competency and this was reflected in the aerodynamic and acoustic data.

Author(s): Matthew S Broadhurst

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