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Treatments for Age-related Vocal Atrophy: A Systematic Review.

Laryngoscope 2023 March 14
OBJECTIVE: Age-related vocal atrophy (ARVA) can dramatically affect voice, communication, and quality of life. The objectives of this systematic review were to (1) determine whether treatments for ARVA were superior to controls (2) compare the relative efficacy of procedural and behavioral treatments (3) review the various types of outcome measures, and (4) evaluate the quality of studies.

REVIEW METHODS: The literature was searched using strategies designed by a medical librarian (2/18/21, updated 3/9/22). Studies investigating treatments for bilateral vocal atrophy were included. Studies involving unilateral atrophy, presbyphonia (without endoscopic findings), or an absent comparator group were excluded. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses checklist was used to guide this study.

RESULTS: After applying the inclusion/exclusion criteria, 8 articles remained, including 4 randomized trials and 4 cohort studies, and a narrative synthesis was performed. Surgical and behavioral treatments for ARVA appeared to be superior to control groups, based on specific outcome measures. However, the superiority of these treatments over controls was not uniformly observed across multiple outcome measures. When comparing different treatments, superiority could not be established based on the quality and completeness of the studies included in the systematic review. Outcome measures also varied between individual studies. Finally, the risk of bias was analyzed and scored. Consistent point deductions among reviewed studies were noted.

CONCLUSIONS: When comparing treatments for ARVA. Surgery and voice therapy were both superior to control groups based on specific outcome measures from different domains. Superiority of one treatment could not be established.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: N/A Laryngoscope, 2023.

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