Quality-of-life assessment in patients with unilateral vocal cord paralysis

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001 Sep;125(3):176-82. doi: 10.1067/mhn.2001.117714.


Objective: Our objective was to identify the impact of unilateral vocal cord paralysis (UVCP) on an individual's quality of life both before and after thyroplasty.

Study design and setting: This was a prospective observational outcome study of consecutive patients presenting to a laryngology clinic with UVCP. Participants received The Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36-Item Health Survey (SF-36), the Voice Handicap Index (VHI), and the Voice Outcome Survey (VOS). Patients underwent medialization laryngoplasty with silastic, with or without arytenoid adduction. Outcome measures were repeated after surgery.

Results: A review of 45 patients at presentation revealed statistically significant reductions in quality of life as measured by each survey. Marked improvements were noted after surgery.

Conclusions: Our preoperative data support a profile of significant general health-related and voice-related limitations caused by UVCP. Patient perceptions improved significantly after the surgical treatment of glottal insufficiency.

Significance: The SF-36, VHI, and VOS provide an important complement to traditional endpoints in the analysis of patients with UVCP.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis* / etiology
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis* / surgery