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Thyroarytenoid Muscle Responses To Air Pressure Stimulation Of The Laryngeal Mucosa In Humans

Priyanka Bhabu, Christopher Poletto, Steven Bielamowicz, Eric Mann, Christy L. Ludlow

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Others have observed glottic adduction in response to air puff stimuli and suggested that this is a reliable indicator of laryngeal sensation. We undertook to determine whether the same thresholds are found if one uses either thyroarytenoid (TA) muscle responses or subjects' reports of laryngeal sensation. We also studied the characteristics of TA responses to unilateral air pressure stimulation of the mucosa overlying the arytenoid cartilages. Ten normal volunteers provided button press responses to air pressure stimuli during bilateral TA electromyography. Similar thresholds were determined by reports of sensation as by electromyographic responses (p < .0005). The early TA responses occurred either around 80 ms or around 125 ms after onset of the air puff, with equal frequency on the ipsilateral and contralateral sides. The TA muscle responses to air pressure stimulation differ in physiological characteristics from the laryngeal adductor reflex that occurs in response to electrical stimulation of the superior laryngeal nerve.