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Characteristics Of Late Responses To Superior Laryngeal Nerve Stimulation In Humans

Christy L. Ludlow, Frederick Van Pelt, Junji Koda

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To characterize human thyroarytenoid and cricothyroid muscle responses to stimulation of the internal (sensory) and external (motor) branches of the superior laryngeal nerve (SLN), three awake subjects were studied at rest and during muscle activation with stimulation at different current levels. When only the external branch was stimulated, direct cricothyroid muscle responses were obtained without responses in either thyroarytenoid muscle. When only the internal branch was stimulated, no cricothyroid responses were obtained, but two late thyroarytenoid responses occurred (R1 and R2). The R1 response was usually ipsilateral and had a mean onset latency of 18 milliseconds, while the R2 response was bilateral and occurred between 66 and 70 milliseconds. Both responses tended to decrease in latency and increase in amplitude with increased stimulation level. The similarity of Rl to the adductor response and R2 to other late responses is discussed.