Pediatric Vocal Cord Paralysis

Pediatric Vocal Cord Paralysis

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Summary

Pediatric vocal cord paralysis occurs when a child’s vocal cords cannot move. This can occur on one side (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral) of the vocal cords.

Expanded overview

Vocal cord paralysis occurs when the vocal cords (vocal folds) cannot move and are unable to reach each other, creating a gap between them. This gap can affect a child’s breathing and their ability to speak.

Causes

Pediatric vocal cord paralysis can be caused spontaneously (unknown reason), or be the result of a:

  • Complication from intubation (plastic tubing in the trachea (windpipe) to assist breathing)
  • Surgery
  • Traumatic injury
  • Viral infection

Types

There are two types of vocal cord paralysis:

  • Unilateral vocal cord paralysis — when a child’s vocal cords cannot move on one side.
  • Bilateral vocal cord paralysis — when a child’s vocal cords cannot move on both sides.

Symptoms

Symptoms of pediatric vocal cord paralysis include:

*Age of infants as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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