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To evaluate the efficacy of prosthetic laryngoplasty with and without bilateral ventriculocordectomy for treatment of experimentally induced left laryngeal hemiplegia (LLH).


15 adult Standardbreds.


Horses were allotted to 3 equal groups. Sham operation (group 1), prosthetic laryngoplasty (group 2), or prosthetic laryngoplasty with bilateral ventriculocordectomy (group 3) was performed after induction of LLH. Upper airway function testing was performed prior to left recurrent laryngeal neurectomy (LRLN), 14 days after LRLN, and 60 and 180 days after surgical treatment. Measurements were obtained at rest and at treadmill speeds corresponding to 75 and 100% of maximal heart rate. Videoendoscopy was performed at rest and during exercise in all horses prior to LRLN and 60 and 180 days after surgical treatment. Upper airway endoscopy was performed immediately after LRLN to document induction of grade-IV LLH. Also, horses in group 3 were endoscopically examined at 7, 14, 21, 28, and 120 days after surgical treatment to evaluate healing of the ventriculocordectomy sites.


When horses were at rest, significant differences were not apparent between groups at any period or between periods for any measured variable. LRLN induced airway obstruction in all horses during exercise. In sham-operated horses, this obstruction was unaffected by time. In contrast, 60 and 180 days after surgical treatment, inspiratory flow limitations induced by LRLN were reversed in horses of groups 2 and 3. There were no significant differences between the 2 treatment groups. Endoscopy revealed the left arytenoid cartilage abducted beyond the intermediate position, but not touching the pharyngeal wall in all horses with a laryngeal prosthesis. After surgical treatment, 4 group-2 horses had filling of both ventricles with air during exercise. There was moderate to marked swelling of the ventriculocordectomy sites immediately after surgery, and this swelling resolved by 7 days after surgery. The ventriculocordectomy sites looked best at 14 and 180 days.


60 and 180 days after prosthetic laryngoplasty, upper airway function returned to pre-LRLN values in horses with experimentally induced LLH exercising at 100% of maximal heart rate. Combining ventriculocordectomy with prosthetic laryngoplasty does not further improve upper airway function in these horses. (Am J Vet Res 1996;57:1668–1673)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


A nerve muscle pedicle (nmp) graft was placed in the cricoarytenoideus dorsalis (cad) muscle of 6 horses with induced left laryngeal hemiplegia. The nmp graft was created by use of the first cervical nerve and omohyoideus muscle. In 1 horse (control), the first cervical nerve was transected after placement of the nmp graft. One year after the surgical procedure, horses were examined endoscopically and then anesthetized. While the larynx was observed endoscopically, the first cervical nerve was stimulated. Horses were subsequently euthanatized, and the larynx was harvested.

Prior to anesthesia, the endoscopic appearance of the larynx of all horses was typical of laryngeal hemiplegia. During anesthesia, stimulation of the first cervical nerve produced vigorous abduction of the left aiytenoid in principal horses but not in the control horse. The right cricoarytenoideus lateralis and cad muscles were grossly and histologically normal. Also, the left cricoarytenoideus lateralis was atrophic in all horses as was the left cad muscle of the control horse. In contrast, the left cad muscle harvested from principal horses had evidence of reinnervation with type 1 or type 2 fiber grouping. One year after the nmp graft procedure, horses with left laryngeal hemiplegia had reinnervation of the left cad muscle. In another study, reinnervation was sufficient to allow normal laryngeal function during exercise. Combined, these data suggest that the nmp graft procedure is a viable technique for the treatment of left laryngeal hemiplegia in horses.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Upper airway flow mechanics and arterial blood gas measurements were used to assess the efficacy of subtotal arytenoidectomy for treatment of induced left laryngeal hemiplegia in horses. Measurements were collected with the horses at rest, and trotting or pacing on a treadmill (6.38° incline) at speeds of 4.2 and 7.0 m/s. Experimental protocols were performed after right common carotid artery exteriorization (baseline), after left recurrent laryngeal neurectomy (lrln), and after left subtotal arytenoidectomy.

At baseline, increasing treadmill speed progressively increased peak inspiratory and expiratory flow (Vi max and Ve max respectively), peak inspiratory and expiratory transupper airway pressure (PuI and PuE, respectively), respiratory frequency (f), tidal volume (VT), minute volume (VE), and heart rate. Inspiratory and expiratory times (TI and TE, respectively) and arterial oxygen tension (Pao2) decreased with increased treadmill speed; inspiratory and expiratory impedance (ZI and ZE, respectively) did not change.

After lrln, Vi max, f, and Pao 2 significantly (P < 0.05) decreased at exercise, whereas PuI, TI, and ZI significantly increased. Minute volume decreased at exercise after lrln, but the changes were not significant; lrln had no effect on Ve max PuE, ZE, heart rate, arterial carbon dioxide tension (Paco 2), or VT.

Subtotal arytenoidectomy did not improve upper airway flow mechanics or blood gas measurements impaired by laryngeal hemiplegia.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research