Research Article| Volume 37, ISSUE 2, P304.e1-304.e7, March 2023

Presbylarynx: Is It a Sign of the Health Status of the Elderly?

Published:January 16, 2021DOI:



      Only a full understanding of how different diseases affect the same or different anatomical/functional entities, may provide a clue on how comorbidity should be taken into consideration. The aim of this study was to evaluate the chronic medical illnesses of an elderly population, in order to analyze potential correlation of specific comorbidities with presbylarynx.


      This case-control, prospective, observational, and cross-sectional study was carried out on consecutive subjects observed by otorhinolaryngology, in a tertiary center, from January to September 2020. The inclusion criteria were ability to report an accurate medical history and ≥65 years of age. The exclusion criteria were neurologic diagnoses, autoimmune disease, history of thoracic or head and neck surgery, cancer, radiotherapy, thyroid pathology, vocal fold mass lesions, acute laryngitis, or vocal fold paralysis. Based on videostroboscopy of the larynx, the patients were subdivided into two main groups: presbylarynx versus no presbylarynx. Health status was assessed by evaluation of chronic medical illnesses (individual diagnoses of chronic conditions plus Charlson comorbidity index [CCI]), functional status (Katz index of independence in activities of daily living and functional Ambulation ambulation classification), and emotional status (Geriatric Depression Scale).


      A total of 174 subjects (60 males; 114 females) were included (mean age = 73.99 years; range 65-95 years). Presbylarynx was identified in 71 patients (41%). A statistically significant difference was found concerning diabetes mellitus type 2 (T2DM); P< 0.001), asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; P< 0.001), and psychiatric disorder (P< 0.001). The mean score of CCI between “presbylarynx” and “no presbylarynx” groups was statistically different (P= 0.021). Results showed an association between some functional dependence (P< 0.001), and mild or severe depression (P< 0.001) and the presence of presbylarynx.


      Presbylarynx may be considered a sign of the health status of the elderly. Based on CCI, It was found that patients with higher probability of 10-year mortality exhibit more endoscopic signs of presbylarynx. It was also found that patients with better scores in functionality scales exhibited less endoscopic findings compatible with presbylarynx. Among chronic medical illnesses, T2DM, asthma, or COPD may be considered risk factors for noticeable endoscopic signs of presbylarynx.

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