Objectives/hypothesis: To determine whether respiratory compromise from bilateral vocal fold impairment (paralysis) can be objectively alleviated by reinnervation and pacing.
Methods: A patient with paramedian vocal folds and synkinesis had a tracheotomy for stridor after bilateral laryngeal nerve injury and Miller Fisher syndrome. One posterior cricoarytenoideus (PCA) received a nerve-muscle pedicle fitted with a perineural electrode for pacemaker stimulation. The airway was evaluated endoscopically and by spirometry for up to 1 year.
Results: Bilateral vocal fold patency during quiet breathing was reversed to active vocal fold adduction during tracheal occlusion. Peak inspiratory flows (PIFs) were significantly higher (P < .001) after reinnervation. PIFs and glottic apertures increased further under stimulation (42 Hz, 1-4 mA, 42-400 microsec). although the differences were not significant.
Conclusions: Based on our preliminary data, PCA reinnervation and pacing offer promise for amelioration of respiratory compromise after paradoxical adduction in bilateral vocal fold impairment.