Using Laryngeal Electromyography to Differentiate Presbylarynges From Paresis

Stager, Sheila V.; Bielamowicz, Steven A.
February 2010
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Feb2010, Vol. 53 Issue 1, p100
Academic Journal
Purpose: Differential diagnosis of patients over 64 years of age reporting hoarseness is challenging. Laryngeal electromyography (LEMG) was used to determine the status of the recurrent and superior laryngeal nerves. The authors hypothesized that individuals with hoarseness but normal LEMG would have measures similar to those of patients from previous studies with presbylarynges and significantly different from those of patients with abnormal LEMG. Method: A retrospective chart review of acoustic, aerodynamic, endoscopic, and self-rating measures was completed for 52 individuals over 64 years of age reporting moderate to severe hoarseness. Results: Individuals with normal LEMG had measures similar to those of patients from previous studies diagnosed with presbylarynges. The group with LEMG abnormalities was subcategorized by specific nerve(s) affected. Significant differences were found for measures between presbylarynges and unilateral but not bilateral paresis groups. Several endoscopic findings were observed more often than expected in the presbylarynges group. Using electromyography as a gold standard, the presence of any impairment in arytenoid movement had the most sensitivity (77%) in making the diagnosis of paresis, and the absence of any impairment had the most specificity (67%) in making the diagnosis of presbylarynges. Conclusion: LEMG may be useful in differentially diagnosing hoarseness in older patients, especially to distinguish between bilateral paresis and presbylarynges.


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