Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003 Aug;84(8):1150-3.

Utility of laryngeal electromyography in predicting recovery after vocal fold paralysis.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



To determine the value of laryngeal electromyography in predicting recovery after vocal fold paralysis and to determine what elements of laryngeal electromyography are most predictive of outcome.


Cohort study with retrospective data review.


University voice center.


Consecutive sample of 31 patients with vocal fold paralysis diagnosed by indirect laryngoscopy, using either nasal insertion with a flexible nasopharyngoscope or peroral with a 70 degrees Hopkins rod. Inclusion criteria were that laryngeal electromyography had to have been performed between 21 days and 6 months from the onset of symptoms and patients must have been followed a minimum of 6 months.


Not applicable.


Vocal fold motion at 6 months from onset of symptoms.


Nine subjects (29%) had resolved vocal fold motion, whereas 22 (71%) had persistent vocal fold paralysis. By using our laryngeal electromyography paradigm, 4 of 6 patients with a laryngeal electromyography prognosis of excellent resolved. The predictive value for a negative test was 66.7%. For patients with a fair or poor prognosis, 5 of 25 resolved. The predictive value for a positive test was 80%. Only 8 of 22 patients with persistent vocal fold paralysis had fibrillations, and spontaneous activity was not significantly related to outcome. Patients with absent or greatly decreased motor unit recruitment had a significantly higher proportion of permanent vocal fold paralysis (P<.05). Stepwise forward logistic regression determined that prognosis by laryngeal electromyography and onset time were significant predictors of outcome (P<.01). The model predicted 44.4% of resolved cases, which represents a moderate prediction.


This study confirms the utility of laryngeal electromyography in assessing prognosis for recovery of vocal fold motion after laryngeal nerve injury. The results support our hypothesis that preset decision rules based on laryngeal electromyography data can be effectively used to determine a prognosis for recovery of vocal fold motion.

Comment in

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center