Longitudinal effects of botulinum toxin injections on voice-related quality of life (V-RQOL) for patients with adductory spasmodic dysphonia

N D Hogikyan, W P Wodchis, C Spak, P R Kileny
Journal of Voice 2001, 15 (4): 576-86
Adductory spasmodic dysphonia is a focal dystonia of laryngeal muscles. Patients with this disorder typically have severe vocal difficulties, with significant functional, social, and emotional consequences. There is no widely accepted cure for this condition, however, botulinum toxin injections of the thyroarytenoid muscles are considered by most voice clinicians to be the state of the art treatment. Based on extensive experience treating patients for adductory spasmodic dysphonia, we feel that traditional means of voice assessment do not adequately measure either the disease severity or the treatment outcomes. That is, listening to or acoustically analyzing limited phonatory samples does not capture the functional, social, and emotional consequences of this disorder. These consequences will be reflected in a patient's voice-related quality of life (V-RQOL). Using a validated voice outcomes instrument, the V-RQOL Measure, the purpose of this study was to quantify longitudinal changes in the V-RQOL of patients with adductory spasmodic dysphonia who are undergoing botulinum toxin injections. Twenty-seven consecutive new patients presenting with dysphonia to our institution during an 18-month period were diagnosed with adductory spasmodic dysphonia, and treated patients were evaluated prospectively using the V-RQOL Measure. Results indicated that (1) V-RQOL was initially very low for these patients, (2) botulinum toxin injections improved it significantly for each injection cycle studied, and (3) the magnitude of the treatment effect appears to change across injections.

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