Presented at the Eastern Section Meeting of the Triological Society, New York, NY, January 24, 2004.
Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing With Sensory Testing in Patients With Unilateral Vocal Fold Immobility: Incidence and Pathophysiology of Aspiration†
Article first published online: 3 JAN 2009
Copyright © 2005 The Triological Society
Volume 115, Issue 4, pages 565–569, April 2005
How to Cite
Tabaee, A., Murry, T., Zschommler, A. and Desloge, R. B. (2005), Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing With Sensory Testing in Patients With Unilateral Vocal Fold Immobility: Incidence and Pathophysiology of Aspiration. The Laryngoscope, 115: 565–569. doi: 10.1097/01.mlg.0000161358.20450.12
- Issue published online: 3 JAN 2009
- Article first published online: 3 JAN 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 DEC 2004
- Vocal fold immobility;
- flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing with sensory testing
Objectives/Hypothesis: The objective was to examine the incidence and pathophysiology of aspiration in patients with unilateral vocal fold immobility presenting with dysphagia.
Study Design: Retrospective review of flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing with sensory testing (FEESST) data and medical records in two tertiary medical care centers.
Methods: The data for all patients with unilateral vocal fold immobility who underwent FEESST between 2000 and 2003 were reviewed.
Results: Eighty-one patients (45 male and 36 female patients) were included in the study. The mean age was 59 years. The most common causes or origins were iatrogenic (42%), malignancy (23%), and neurological (18%). The immobility was left-sided in 59% of patients. A majority of the patients exhibited laryngeal edema/erythema (90%), difficulty with secretions (60%), and decreased laryngopharyngeal sensation (83%). The laryngeal adductor reflex was absent in 34% of the patients. An aspiration rate of 35% was detected with thin liquids. Trials of purees revealed a 76% rate of pooling, 44% rate of spillage, 32% rate of penetration, 18% rate of aspiration, and 24% rate of regurgitation. Rates of penetration and aspiration with purees were significantly higher in patients who had decreased laryngopharyngeal sensation, absent pharyngeal squeeze, and absent laryngeal adductor reflex.
Conclusion: Dysphagia in patients with unilateral vocal fold immobility is demonstrated during FEESST by pooling, spillage, penetration, and aspiration. The pathophysiology of dysphagia is multifactorial with decreased sensation and limitation of airway protective mechanisms both acting as contributing factors.