Tapia's syndrome--a rare complication following cardiac surgery

Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2012 Jan;14(1):131-2. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivr056. Epub 2011 Nov 17.


Tapia's syndrome is a rare complication following cardiac surgery. It includes the extracranial involvement of the recurrent laryngeal nerve and the hypoglossal nerve and results in ipsilateral paralysis of the vocal cord and the tongue. It is usually a complication related to anaesthesia and positioning of the head of the patient during surgery. We describe this rare complication which occurred at our institute. A 49-year old man developed Tapia's syndrome after an uneventful coronary artery bypass surgery. He complained of dysphonia, hoarseness of voice and an inability to swallow soon after extubation. The syndrome resolved completely over the following weeks with no neurological deficit.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Artery Bypass / adverse effects*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypoglossal Nerve Diseases / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Positioning / adverse effects*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve*
  • Syndrome
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / etiology*