Objective: To determine the rate of recovery of pediatric vocal fold paralysis (VFP) after cardiac surgery. Study Design and Setting: Retrospective case series from January 2000 to 2005 at 4 tertiary care pediatric hospitals. Results: A total of 109 children with VFP were identified. Of 80 patients with follow-up >3 months, 28 (35%) recovered vocal fold function with a median time to diagnosis of recovery of 6.6 months. Fifty-two (65%) patients had persistent vocal fold paralysis with a median follow-up time of 16.4 months. Twenty-five (45%) of 55 patients demonstrated aspiration or laryngeal penetration with modified barium swallow. Twenty-nine (27%) of the 109 patients underwent surgical intervention for their airway, feeding, or voice. Conclusions: Pediatric VFP is not an uncommon complication after cardiac surgery and can result in serious sequelae. This study demonstrates a 35% rate of recovery, 45% rate of aspiration, and 27% rate of complications that require surgical intervention.
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