Dysphagia associated with unilateral vocal cord immobility (UVCI) has received much less attention than did voice and phonation. The aim of this descriptive study was to evaluate the outcome of dysphagia associated with UVCI. Between June 2006 and September 2009, 69 hospitalized patients who underwent cardiovascular surgery were referred for dysphagia. Video endoscopic evaluation of swallowing was used for the detection of swallowing difficulties. Severity of dysphagia was assessed using the Dysphagia Severity Scale. Among the 69 patients, 31 UVCI patients who underwent video endoscopic evaluation of swallowing at least twice were used for analysis. All patients had severe to mild dysphagia at the first evaluation. Nineteen patients recovered from the UVCI at a mean follow-up of 125 days, whereas 12 had persistent UVCI at a mean follow-up of 216 days. Dysphagia Severity Scale at the first evaluation was not significantly different in both groups. At the last follow-up, the Dysphagia Severity Scale improved considerably without a significant difference in the magnitude of improvement in both groups. In the recovered and persistent UVCI groups, 16 and 7 patients, respectively, resumed their regular diets. Dysphagia associated with UVCI after surgery recovers, irrespective of the functional results of the UVCI.
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