Chronic intermittent stimulation of the thyroarytenoid muscle maintains dynamic control of glottal adduction

Christy L. Ludlow, Steven Bielamowicz, Marci Daniels Rosenberg, Ranjinidevi Ambalavanar, Katia Rossini, Michael Gillespie, Victoria Hampshire, Roy Testerman, Donald Erickson, Ugo Carraro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with laryngeal motor control disorders need improved dynamic glottal closure for speech and swallowing. To evaluate the functional outcome of intermittent chronic thyroarytenoid muscle stimulation in an animal model, 6 canines were implanted with bilateral Medtronic Xtrel systems containing Peterson-type electrodes in the inferior and superior portions of the thyroarytenoid muscle. Stimulation was on one side only at 60 Hz, for 5 s on and 5 s off, over 8 h, 5 days per week, up to 8 months. Monthly videorecordings were done under anesthesia to measure the voltage threshold for detectable movement on each side, and vocal fold displacement and velocity during maximal stimulation of each side. Movement thresholds were lower in the inferior portion of the thyroarytenoid muscle (P ≤ 0.0005). Movement velocity was greater on the stimulated than on the nonstimulated side after 3 to 8 months (P = 0.039). No differences in the percentage distribution of different myosin heavy chain types were found between the stimulated and nonstimulated muscle samples. Sustained dynamic glottal adduction with no alteration in thyroarytenoid muscle function or fiber type was achieved with intermittent stimulation over 8 months. The results suggest that chronic intermittent thyroarytenoid stimulation has good potential for improving airway protection in dysphagia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-57
Number of pages14
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Airway protection
  • Canine
  • Dysphagia
  • Larynx
  • Neuroprosthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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