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Laryngoscope. 2003 Feb;113(2):221-5.

Laryngopharyngeal dysfunction from the implant vagal nerve stimulator.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY, USA.



The objective of the study was to examine the side-effect profile of the vagal nerve stimulator. Vagal nerve stimulators have been used to treat intractable seizures in all age groups. They provide relief to the patient with a seizure disorder by decreasing the overall number and severity of seizure activities. Although significant complications are rare, many patients have some complaint, usually of their voice.


A retrospective evaluation of four patients with intractable epilepsy.


Evaluation of charts and medical records and endoscopic examination of the larynx.


In this small series, all four patients had implantation-related paresis. Three of the four appear to have side effects from device activation.


Patients in whom a vagal nerve stimulator is placed can have adverse side effects. These can be related to the surgical manipulation of the vagus nerve, resulting in a temporary paresis of the vocal folds. A second set of side effects is related to the actual electrical stimulation of the device, and these side effects can directly affect the laryngeal musculature.

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