The role of laryngeal electromyography in vagus nerve stimulation-related vocal fold dysmotility

Alberto M. Saibene, Elena Zambrelli, Carlotta Pipolo, Alberto Maccari, Giovanni Felisati, Elena Felisati, Francesca Furia, Aglaia Vignoli, Maria Paola Canevini, Enrico Alfonsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a useful tool for drug-resistant epilepsy, but it induces known laryngeal side effects, with a significant role on patients’ quality of life. VNS patients may show persistent left vocal fold (LVF) palsy at rest and/or recurrent LVF adduction during stimulation. This study aims at electromyographically evaluating laryngeal muscles abnormalities in VNS patients. We compared endoscopic laryngeal evaluation data in six VNS patients with laryngeal muscle electromyography (LMEMG) carried out on the thyroarytenoid, cricothyroid, posterior cricoarytenoid, and cricopharyngeal muscles. Endoscopy showed LVF palsy at rest in 3/6 patients in whom LMEMG documented a tonic spastic activity with reduced phasic modulation. In four out of six patients with recurrent LVF adduction during VNS activation, LMEMG showed a compound muscle action potential persisting for the whole stimulation. This is the first LMEMG report of VNS-induced motor unit activation via recurrent laryngeal nerve and upper laryngeal nerve stimulation. LMEMG data were could, therefore, be considered consistent with the endoscopic laryngeal examination in all patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Oct 13 2016


  • Drug-resistant epilepsy
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Electromyography
  • Manuscript
  • Vocal cord paresis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of laryngeal electromyography in vagus nerve stimulation-related vocal fold dysmotility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this