Research Article|Articles in Press

Assessing the Prevalence and Associated Risk Factors for Presbylarynx in the Elderly Laryngology Population



      The primary objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of presbylarynx and its associated features in an elderly population representative of patients seen in a tertiary care laryngology practice. The secondary objective of this study was to compare laryngeal electromyography (LEMG) findings, coexisting VF conditions, medical history, surgical history, medication use, and other parameters between patients with and without presbylarynx.


      Adult voice patients aged 60 years and older who underwent strobovideolaryngoscopy were included in the study. Patients were assigned to one of two groups based on the majority (≥2/3) agreement of three blinded authors’ (GA, KL, and HP) graded examinations of strobovideolaryngoscopy (SVL) videos for findings consistent with presbylarynx (atrophic vocal folds [VFA], vocal fold bowing [VFB], vocal process prominence [VPP] and anterior glottic insufficiency [GI]). Patient demographics, medical history, surgical history, medication use, laboratory results, and SVL videos were compiled. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS (IBM, Armonk, NY). All tests were performed two-tailed, and a P-value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


      One hundred sixty-four patients (84 female/80 male, mean age of 68.397 ± 4.947 years) were included in this study. The prevalence of presbylarynx was 52.4% (n = 86) in the study population. The mean age of patients in the presbylarynx group was significantly higher than the nonpresbylarynx group. Additionally, there were significantly more males than females in the presbylarynx group. The presbylarynx group also was found to have a higher proportion of ACE inhibitor (ACEi) use. Further, laboratory results revealed a significantly higher proportion of patients with elevated thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels in the presbylarynx group. Conversely, patients in the nonpresbylarynx group were found to have a significantly higher rate of levothyroxine use. On SVL, patients in the nonpresbylarynx cohort were found to have a significantly higher proportion of benign vocal fold lesions and vocal fold paresis. However, LEMG testing revealed no statistically significant differences in muscle recruitment between groups. Men with presbylarynx were found to have a significantly higher proportion of VFB and VPP compared to women with presbylarynx.


      This retrospective study investigated the prevalence and risk factors associated with presbylarynx in patients representative of those treated by laryngologists. Signs consistent with presbylarynx are observable even in the presence of coexisting VF conditions. Older age, elevated TSH, the use of ACEi, and male gender was associated with signs of presbylarynx on SVL. Of those diagnosed with presbylarynx, males were identified as having higher proportions of VFB and VPP compared to females. More education regarding presbylarynx and further studies to improve standardization of the criteria for its diagnosis, as well as its relationship with other VF conditions, are encouraged to improve management of the aging voice.

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