How is a cricoarytenoid (CA) fixation differentiated from other causes of an immobile vocal fold?

Updated: Jul 27, 2021
  • Author: Paul C Bryson, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Videostroboscopy, electromyography, and CT scanning may help to distinguish a fixed cricoarytenoid (CA) joint from an immobile vocal fold of another cause. Of these examinations, videostroboscopy is the most readily available and useful to determine the exact position of the arytenoid, to assess subtle movements, and to determine the relative positions of the vocal folds, which may help to narrow the differential diagnoses.

With regard to electromyography, however, a retrospective study by Martínez-Martínez et al indicated that in patients with vocal fold immobility but normal laryngeal electromyography results, it is best not to assume that the immobility has resulted from cricoarytenoid (CA) fixation. The investigators found that immobility in such patients stemmed from a variety of causes, including idiopathic and iatrogenic etiologies, as well as central nervous system damage and external compression. [5]

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