Alexander Gelbard
Last active: 7/30/2020

Outcomes in Bilateral Vocal Fold Immobility: A Retrospective Cohort Analysis.

Gadkaree SK, Gelbard A, Best SR, Akst LM, Brodsky M, Hillel AT
Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018: 194599818800462

PMID: 30223764 · PMCID: PMC6422766 · DOI:10.1177/0194599818800462

Objective To test the hypothesis that the etiologies of bilateral vocal fold mobility impairment (BLVFI), bilateral vocal fold paralysis (BVFP), and posterior glottis stenosis (PGS) have distinct clinical outcomes. To identify patient-specific and procedural factors that influence tracheostomy-free survival. Study Design Retrospective cohort study. Setting Johns Hopkins Medical Center from 2004 to 2015. Subjects and Methods Case series with chart review of 68 patients with PGS and 17 patients with BVFP. Multiple logistic regression analysis determined factors associated with airway prosthesis dependence at last follow-up and the procedural burden (defined as number of operative procedures per year). Results PGS comprised the majority of BLVFI (76%). PGS injury arose primarily after endotracheal intubation (91%), while BVFP most commonly was due to iatrogenic surgical injury to bilateral recurrent laryngeal nerves (88%, P < .001). Overall in BLVFI, 66% were tracheostomy free at last follow-up (62% in PGS, 82% in BVFP). Of those who underwent an operative intervention to be decannulated, 88% were decannulated (90% PGS, 80% BVFP). Patients with PGS required higher procedural burden to achieve decannulation compared with the BVFP cohort (3.1 ± 5.2 vs 0.71 ± 1.4, P = .002). In multivariate analysis of PGS, smoking was a risk factor for tracheostomy dependence ( P = .026). Conclusions BLVFI is primarily an iatrogenic complication. There are high rates of tracheostomy dependence in BLVFI, with procedural intervention needed for decannulation. Compared with BVFP, patients with PGS had a higher procedural burden overall and to achieve decannulation. Patients with PGS should be counseled that smoking, a modifiable risk factor, may increase the risk of tracheostomy dependence.

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