Year : 2022  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 243-245

Cricoarytenoid subluxation presenting as vocal cord palsy following endotracheal intubation – A case report

Department of Anaesthesiology, SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Potheri, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Ravi Saravanan
Department of Anaesthesiology, 210, SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.sja_777_21

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Airway interventions commonly present with self-limiting throat pain and hoarseness of voice. Persistent hoarseness is rare and should be evaluated for serious complications. Cricoarytenoid injuries may present as vocal cord palsies which need careful evaluation. We encountered a case of intubation-related cricoarytenoid subluxation in a 49-year-old diabetic female with a past history of pulmonary tuberculosis was planned for a modified radical mastectomy after a course of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. During intubation by a third-year resident, Cormack Lehane's grade was 3, and bougie-guided railroading of 7 mm endotracheal tube was done blindly. The patient developed haemoptysis and desaturation following intubation and was on ventilator support for 24 hours. Following extubation, the patient had throat pain and hoarseness in voice for more than 2 days. Fibreoptic laryngoscopy revealed right vocal cord palsy. A detailed evaluation revealed right cricoarytenoid subluxation which was treated successfully by closed reduction after 1 week. Cricoarytenoid subluxation, though rare is a serious complication after interventional airway procedures. According to the literature, unfavourable intubating conditions, predisposing patient factors and inadequate experience of the anaesthesiologist are the major contributors to this complication. Injury may produce submucosal haemorrhage and haemarthrosis, which cause adhesions and scarring leading to fixing of vocal cord in abnormal position and permanent disability. Early diagnosis by fibreoptic laryngoscopy and CT imaging and prompt interventions like closed reduction or laryngoplasty should be done to restore vocal cord function.

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