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J Voice. 2010 Jan;24(1):110-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2008.05.001. Epub 2009 Jan 29.

Vocal fold hypomobility secondary to elective endotracheal intubation: a general surgeon's perspective.

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Department of Surgery, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


This study was performed retrospectively to evaluate the incidence of documented vocal fold injury as a result of elective endotracheal intubation during general surgical procedures. Medical record review was performed at a single institution and all surgical cases reviewed which required endotracheal intubation in the nonemergent setting between April 1, 2003 and August, 31, 2007. Cases with unexpected and documented vocal fold immobility postoperatively formed the study cohort, and data were gathered regarding diagnosis and procedures performed. Of 23,010 general surgery cases performed during the study period, only seven documented cases of vocal fold paralysis were discovered (0.03%). There were five women and two men in the group; all were adults. Only one patient had a primary diagnosis related to the head and neck. Comorbidities were recorded as well, but there were no statistically significant patterns discerned. Furthermore, during the study period, a total of 31 patients overall (both surgical and nonsurgical) were admitted who carried a primary diagnosis of vocal fold paralysis. Therefore, the study cohort therefore constituted 22.6% of this total. Finally, cohort patients spent a total of 150 days in hospital during the study period; this length of stay (an average of 16.7 hospital days per patient) was significantly longer than the average of 5.1 days, presumably at least in part related to the vocal paralysis.

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