Evidence of return of function in patients with vocal fold paresis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Voice








Intervention; Return of function; Vocal fold paresis


Unilateral vocal fold paresis (UVFP) patients were examined over time for achievement of partial or full functional return or no functional return in the extent of arytenoid movement, clarity of laryngeal articulation, maximum phonation time (MPT), and flow. Effects of treatment type and initial laryngeal electromyography (EMG) results were examined. A retrospective chart review was completed for patients a year or less after onset evaluated between April 1999 and December 2005 and treated between 2 and 20 months after onset. Twenty-one individuals were evaluated (11 males, age: 34-89 years) and subsequently treated (10 by injection and 11 by thyroplasty). Evidence of full functional return was found for the extent of arytenoid movement in 25% of individuals, for clarity of laryngeal articulation in 71%, for MPT in 58%, and for flow in 50%. No evidence of functional return was found for the extent of arytenoid movement in 33% of the individuals, for clarity of laryngeal articulation in 8%, for MPT in 32%, and for flow in 22%. All pairs of outcome measures showed poor agreement in the level to which they functionally returned. More individuals with signs of reinnervation demonstrated MPTs with full functional return than expected. Patients with UVFP, even after treatment and at least 12 months postinjury did not demonstrate full functional return for all measures. Differences across measures in the percentage of individuals demonstrating each level of function and the lack of agreement of function level between measures within individuals suggest the need to use multiple outcome measures. © 2010 The Voice Foundation.

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