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Unilateral vocal fold palsy & dysphagia: A review

  • Jennifer F. Ha
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Department of Paediatric Otorhinolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, Perth Children's Hospital, Roberts Road, Nedlands 6008, Australia.
    Affiliations
    Department of Paediatrics Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, Perth Children's Hospital, Roberts Road, Nedlands 6009, Australia

    Murdoch ENT, Wexford Medical Centre, St John of God Hospital (Murdoch), Suite 17-18, Level 1, 3 Barry Marshall Parade, Murdoch 6150, Australia

    School of Surgery, University of Western Australia, Stirling Highway, Crawley 6009, Australia

    St John of God Hospital (Murdoch), Wexford Medical Center, Suite 17-18, Level 1, 3 Barry Marshall Parade, Murdoch 6150, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
Published:April 06, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anl.2020.03.001

      Abstract

      Objectives

      Unilateral vocal fold palsy (UVFP) is the commonest neurological laryngeal disorder. Much of the research have focused on its implication on voice, with limited data on its impact on swallowing. The aim of this paper is to examine the current evidence on the pathophysiology, impact and management of UVFP and swallowing.

      Methods

      A literature search was conducted on the PubMed, MedLine, and Embase databases based on the keywords “unilateral vocal cord palsy” and “dysphagia” for this narrative review.

      Results

      Dysphagia is common in UVFP. A safe and effective swallow is more than just glottic competence but coordination of complex events within the aerodigestive tract's sensory and motor systems. It is an important secondary outcome which has short- and long-term impact on our patient's quality of life. It should be managed in a multi-disciplinary manner to optimise patient's outcome.

      Conclusion

      It is important to consider the disease, patient and surgical factors when deciding on the type and timing of management options. There is increasing evidence of benefits with early surgical interventions, challenging the traditional conservative management to rule out spontaneous recovery and compensation.

      Keywords

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