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J Voice. 2007 Nov;21(6):762-8. Epub 2006 Aug 14.

Short-term effects of endotracheal intubation on voice.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Hamra, Beirut, Lebanon.


The objective of this study was to examine the vocal symptoms and acoustic changes perceived in the short period after endotracheal intubation, and to find the association between these changes and the endotracheal tube parameters. A total of 35 subjects were included. They were examined preoperatively, and 2 and 24 hours postoperatively. The vocal symptoms of hoarseness, vocal fatigue, loss of voice, throat clearing, globus pharyngeus, throat pain, and the acoustic variables mainly average fundamental frequency, relative average perturbation, shimmer, noise to harmony ratio, voice turbulence index, habitual pitch, and maximum phonation time (MPT) were assessed as such and in relation to the following endotracheal tube parameters: duration of anesthesia, number of intubation attempts, size of the tube, cuff volume, cuff mean pressure, and the emergence. The association between anesthesia parameters with incidence of vocal complaints and changes in acoustic parameters were examined using logistic and linear regression. Vocal fatigue was associated significantly with the increase in cuff volume and the number of intubation attempts. Throat clearing was associated significantly with the increase in cuff mean pressure. Only the increase in habitual pitch was associated significantly with the increase in cuff volume. The acute short-term effect of endotracheal intubation on voice is significant. The most important endotracheal tube parameters that affect the vocal changes are the cuff mean pressure and volume. The laryngeal contribution to these vocal changes seems to be minimal. All vocal symptoms increased significantly except for globus pharyngeus at 2 hours postoperatively. The acoustic parameters did not change significantly except for a decrease in MPT. At 24 hours postoperatively, all vocal symptoms subsided with no significant difference to baseline value. The habitual pitch increased significantly, and the rest of the parameters remained comparable to baseline value.

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