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DIAGNOSTIC SENSITIVITY OF SUBJECTIVE AND QUANTITATIVE LARYNGEAL ULTRASONOGRAPHY FOR RECURRENT LARYNGEAL NEUROPATHY IN HORSES

Authors


  • This study was funded by the American College of Veterinary Radiology Resident Research Award, and Equine Guelph.

  • Presented in part at the Joint Scientific Meeting of International Veterinary Radiology Association; Vancouver, Canada, August 2006, and ACVS Symposium, Washington DC, October 7, 2006.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Heather J. Chalmers, at the above address. E-mail: heather.chalmers@uoguelph.ca

Abstract

Recurrent laryngeal neuropathy (RLN) is the most common cause of laryngeal hemiplegia in horses and causes neurogenic atrophy of the intrinsic laryngeal muscles, including the cricoarytenoideus lateralis muscle. Recurrent laryngeal neuropathy results in paresis to paralysis of the vocal fold and arytenoid cartilage, which limits performance through respiratory compromise. Ultrasound has previously been reported to be a useful diagnostic technique in horses with RLN. In this report, the diagnostic sensitivity of subjective and quantitative laryngeal ultrasonography was evaluated in 154 horses presented for poor performance due to suspected upper airway disease. Ultrasonographic parameters recorded were: cricoarytenoideus lateralis echogenicity (subjective and quantitative), cricoarytenoideus lateralis thickness, vocal fold movement, and arytenoid cartilage movement. Ultrasonographic parameters were then compared with laryngeal grades based on resting and exercising upper airway endoscopy. Subjectively increased left cricoarytenoideus lateralis echogenicity yielded a sensitivity of 94.59% and specificity of 94.54% for detecting RLN, based on the reference standard of exercising laryngeal endoscopy. Quantitative left cricoarytenoideus lateralis echogenicity values differed among resting laryngeal grades I–IV. Findings from this study support previously published findings and the utility of subjective and quantitative laryngeal ultrasound as diagnostic tools for horses with poor performance.

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