Laryngeal electromyography for adult unilateral vocal fold immobility: A survey of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association

Stacey L. Halum, Nalin Patel, Timothy L. Smith, Safwan Jaradeh, Robert J. Toohill, Albert L. Merati

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objectives: Diagnostic and management strategies for adult unilateral vocal fold immobility (UVFI) vary among otolaryngologists. The aim of this study was to determine the current attitudes and practices regarding laryngeal electromyography (LEMG) for the management of adult UVFI within a cohort of subspecialty laryngologists. Methods: A 19-item instrument focused on diagnosis and management of adult UVFI was mailed to active members (n = 249) of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association (ABEA). The subset of questions related to LEMG is reviewed in this report. Statistical analysis using a χ2 test was performed. Results: The survey response rate was 34% (n = 84), with 8 surveys returned incomplete because of pediatric-limited practices. Of the respondents, 75% (n = 57) rely on LEMG for evaluation of UVFI, whereas 25% (n = 19) do not use LEMG. Of those who use LEMG, 54% place their own electrodes and 44% interpret the LEMG results themselves. Monopolar electrodes are used by 57% (n = 25), bipolar electrodes by 27% (n = 12), and hooked-wire electrodes by 17% (n = 7). Muscles evaluated by LEMG include the thyroarytenoid (100%), cricothyroid (94%), posterior cricoarytenoid (70%), lateral cricoarytenoid (43%), cricopharyngeus (27%), and interarytenoid (17%). The LEMG is performed in an unblinded fashion by most respondents (85%), and many (66%) feel a more accurate result is obtained when clinical information is known. There was no statistically significant difference in use of LEMG, placement of electrodes, and interpretation of LEMG according to percentage of laryngology practice. Conclusions: The survey results demonstrate congruence among ABEA members in the utility of LEMG in the management of adult UVFI. Some variability was noted in the methods by which LEMG is performed and interpreted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-428
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Laryngeal electromyography
  • Vocal fold immobility
  • Vocal fold paralysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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