All work for this research was performed at the Laryngeal and Speech Section, 10 Center Drive MSC 1416, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, U.S.A.
Article first published online: 2 JAN 2009
Copyright © 2008 The Triological Society
Volume 118, Issue 1, pages 14–19, January 2008
How to Cite
Humbert, I. A., Poletto, C. J., Saxon, K. G., Kearney, P. R. and Ludlow, C. L. (2008), The Effect of Surface Electrical Stimulation on Vocal Fold Position. The Laryngoscope, 118: 14–19. doi: 10.1097/MLG.0b013e318155a47d
This work was financially supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
- Issue published online: 2 JAN 2009
- Article first published online: 2 JAN 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 JUL 2007
- true vocal fold paralysis;
Objectives/Hypothesis: Closure of the true and false vocal folds is a normal part of airway protection during swallowing. Individuals with reduced or delayed true vocal fold closure can be at risk for aspiration and may benefit from intervention to ameliorate the problem. Surface electrical stimulation is currently used during therapy for dysphagia, despite limited knowledge of its physiological effects.
Design: Prospective single effects study.
Methods: The immediate physiological effect of surface stimulation on true vocal fold angle was examined at rest in 27 healthy adults using 10 different electrode placements on the submental and neck regions. Fiberoptic nasolaryngoscopic recordings during passive inspiration were used to measure change in true vocal fold angle with stimulation.
Results: Vocal fold angles changed only to a small extent during two electrode placements (P ≤ .05). When two sets of electrodes were placed vertically on the neck, the mean true vocal fold abduction was 2.4 degrees; while horizontal placements of electrodes in the submental region produced a mean adduction of 2.8 degrees (P = .03).
Conclusions: Surface electrical stimulation to the submental and neck regions does not produce immediate true vocal fold adduction adequate for airway protection during swallowing, and one position may produce a slight increase in true vocal fold opening.