Hoarseness & Choking

Case Repost:

A 35-year-old woman complains of a 2-month history of hoarseness of her voice and some choking while drinking liquids. She denies viral illnesses. She underwent surgery for a cold nodule of the thyroid gland 9 weeks previously. Her only medication is acetaminophen with codeine.
CASE Questions

• What is the most likely diagnosis?
• What is the anatomical explanation for her symptoms?

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ANSWERS TO CASE :

ANSWERS TO CASE : Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Injury

Summary: A 35-year-old woman has a 2-month history of voice hoarseness and choking after undergoing surgery for a cold (nonfunctioning) thyroid nodule.
• Most likely diagnosis: Injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve.
• Anatomical explanation for her symptoms: Vocal cord paralysis.


ANATOMICAL PEARLS

• The right recurrent nerve is located more laterally than the left recurrent nerve because of the course of the subclavian artery.
• The posterior cricoarytenoids are the only muscles to abduct the vocal folds and are necessary to widen the rima glottidis for breathing.
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