Hoarseness evaluation: A transatlantic survey of laryngeal experts
This article has been accepted for oral presentation at the American Laryngological Association Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, on April 10–11, 2013.
The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.
Hoarseness is a symptom of laryngeal dysfunction, without an existing consensus regarding its appropriate evaluation. A survey of laryngeal specialists is proposed to establish expert opinion on the methodology for evaluation of hoarseness, and to identify divergence of opinion regarding appropriate management.
A 13-item questionnaire was submitted electronically to the membership of the American Laryngological Association, the American Broncho-Esophagological Association, and the European Laryngological Society. Responses were collated anonymously and subjected to cross-tabulated data analysis.
A total of 195 responses were included for review. The majority of respondents identified themselves as laryngologists/phoniatricians (54.9%). Two-thirds (64.1%) of the providers dedicated more than 25% of their practice to voice management, and 48.8% managed more than 10 dysphonic patients weekly. Most respondents defined hoarseness and dysphonia as symptoms and not diseases. The panel recommended a mandated time to laryngoscopy of 1 week to 1 month from the onset of symptoms for most acutely dysphonic patients, regardless of risk factors for malignancy, while it was not advised to defer laryngoscopy beyond 2 months of symptom persistence in any situation. A majority (96.2%) felt that an otolaryngologist ought to perform the initial laryngoscopy of a newly hoarse patient.
This survey demonstrates an agreement to expedite specialized laryngeal visualization for cases of hoarseness not subsiding within 1 month, and exemplifies controversies stemming from a recently published clinical practice guideline. Ongoing research and practice evaluation will contribute to set forth improved standards of care and to appropriately counsel dysphonic patients.
Level of Evidence
5. Laryngoscope, 124:221–226, 2014