Research Article|Articles in Press

The Relationship Between Vocal Fold Mobility Disorders and Ineffective Esophageal Motility



      Deglutition, speech production, and airway protection are extraordinarily complex, interrelated functions that are coordinated, in large part, by the motor and sensory innervation of CN X. Previous studies assessing the relationship between neurogenic voice disorders and dysphagia have focused on the risk of aspiration due to glottic insufficiency and the association of vocal fold hypomobility (VFH) with systemic neurologic disease. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between VFH disorders and ineffective esophageal motility (IEM).


      Adult voice patients who underwent laryngeal electromyography (LEMG) and dual 24-hour pH impedance with high-resolution manometry (HRM) testing were included in the study. Subjects were assigned to one of two groups based on the presence or absence of moderate-to-severe RLN and/or SLN VFH (Mo-SLNH/RLNH) using results from six muscle LEMG tests. In subjects with Mo-SLNH/RLNH, there was 0–60% muscle recruitment on LEMG, whereas control subjects in the non-Mo-SLNH/RLNH group demonstrated 61–100% muscle recruitment. Analysis of mild-to-severe VFH (80% muscle recruitment or less) was also performed in a similar manner. The prevalence of IEM, defined using Chicago Classification Version 4.0 (CCv4.0), was compared between groups, as were HRM parameters.


      One hundred sixty-two subjects were included (37.7% male/62.3% female, mean age of 43.88 ± 17.285). No differences in IEM prevalence were found when stratifying for cases of mild-to-severe VFH. However, there was significantly higher percentage of IEM in those with Mo-SLNH/RLNH. Mo-SLNH/RLNH subjects demonstrated higher rates of weak swallows and inefficient swallows, as well as lower IBP and UES residual pressures on HRM.


      Patients with Mo-SLNH/RLNH demonstrated a significantly higher prevalence of IEM. Those with mild-to-severe VFH did not. Higher rates of ineffective and weak swallows, and lower IBP and UES residual pressures among Mo-SLNH/RLNH subjects suggest a possible connection between Mo-SLNH/RLNH and IEM disorders. These manometric differences were more prominent with sub-stratification of the Mo-SLNH/RLNH group by IEM. Additional research is advised.

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