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Keywords:

  • voice;
  • dysphonia;
  • epidemiology;
  • prevalence;
  • Level of Evidence: 2b.

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

To determine the prevalence and common causes of dysphonia as diagnosed by primary care physicians (PCPs) and otolaryngologists and to evaluate differences in etiologies offered by these providers.

Study Design:

Retrospective analysis of data from a large, nationally representative administrative U.S. claims database.

Methods:

Patients were identified as dysphonic based on International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes from January 1, 2004, to December 31, 2008. Data regarding age, sex, geographic location, and type of physician providing the dysphonia diagnosis were collected. Overall and age-related prevalence rates, as well as frequency of specific etiologies by provider type, were calculated.

Results:

Of the almost 55 million individuals in the database, 536,943 patients (ages 0 to >65 years) were given a dysphonia diagnosis (point prevalence rate of 0.98%). The prevalence rate was higher among females as compared to males (1.2% vs. 0.7%) and among those >70 years of age (2.5%). The most frequent diagnoses overall were acute laryngitis, nonspecific dysphonia, benign vocal fold lesions, and chronic laryngitis. PCPs more commonly diagnosed acute laryngitis, whereas otolaryngologists more commonly diagnosed nonspecific dysphonia and laryngeal pathology. Gastroesophageal reflux was more commonly diagnosed as a comorbid condition by otolaryngologists than by PCPs. Overall laryngeal cancer prevalence in this treatment-seeking population was 2.2% and was greatest among males >70 years of age.

Conclusions:

This analysis of insurance claims data from a nationally representative database represents the largest study of its kind. Important differences in dysphonia prevalence related to age, sex, diagnosis, and physician type were identified. Laryngoscope, 122:343–348, 2012