Patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP) caused by nerve injury manifest with voice changes. This study investigated vocal performance measured by voice range profile (VRP) in patients with UVFP and changes in VRP in response to intracordal hyaluronate injection.
Eighty-five patients with UVFP were enrolled prospectively, among whom 68 received intracordal hyaluronate injections. The outcome measurements included VRP, acoustic and aerodynamic analyses, peak turn frequency of thyroarytenoid-lateral cricoarytenoid muscle complex (TA-LCA) measured by laryngeal electromyography, and normalized glottal gap area by videolaryngostroboscopy.
The peak turn frequency of the paralyzed TA-LCA showed a modest correlation with max fundamental frequency (F0) and F0 range. Closed-phase normalized glottal gap area showed modest negative correlations with max F0 and F0 semitone range. Regarding conventional acoustic and aerodynamic analyses, the paralyzed TA-LCA peak turn frequency was only correlated with maximal phonation time. Intracordal hyaluronate injection improved VRP performance by increasing max F0, decreasing min F0, increasing F0 range, and increasing semitone range (all P <0.01) with small or medium strength of effect size (Cohen d, 0.39-0.76).
Change in voice pitch in patients with UVFP can partly predict impairment of neuromuscular functions and glottal gap. VRP provides a more sensitive reflection of the severity of neuromuscular impairment, compared with conventional voice analysis. The validity of VRP is further supported by a robust response to voice improvements following injection laryngoplasty.