Surgical Cause of Vocal Cord Paralysis

Posted by Clark Venable on 10/24/2004

Guilt by proximity? On more than one occasion (including one very recently), I've received calls from patients complaining of laryngeal symptoms after my general anesthetic. In every case, their surgeon suggested to them that since their symptoms are in their voice box, it must have been something the anesthesiologist did since they stuffed a tube in there. Here's a great example of why it 'ain't necessarily so:'

Vocal cord palsy as a complication of adult cardiac surgery: surgical correlations and analysis.

Author(s): Dimarakis I; Protopapas A;

""Vocal cord palsy after adult cardiac surgery is often attributed to non-surgical mechanisms as tracheal intubation and central venous catheterisation.It may also be caused by injury of the recurrent laryngeal nerves by surgical dissection. We hereby present a review of relevant clinical reports. The cumulative incidence was 1.1% (33 in 2980). Main reported surgical mechanisms of injury were harvesting of internal thoracic artery and topical coldcardioprotection. Bilateral nerve palsy has been lethal on at least one occasion. Where vocal cord injury followed harvesting of the left internal thoracic artery, it was reported ipsilateral to the conduit." "

European journal of cardio-thoracic surgery: official journal of the European Association for Cardio; 2004 Oct 1;26(4) p773 - 775

[Via Journals To Go]

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