Dysfunction of the vocal cords is ascribed to several recognized causes, such as lesions of either the central or the peripheral nerves or local changes, such as neoplasm or ankylosis of the various joints, particularly of the cricoarytenoid joint. The dysfunction may be partial (paresis) or complete (paralysis) and, whether present in one or both cords, may or may not be manifested clinically. It is well known that, particularly if a nonfunctioning vocal cord lies in the cadaveric position, the opposite cord will often cross the midline, so that no symptoms either in phonation or in respiration result. If one vocal cord lies in the midline, the compensatory function of the other cord is assured. Both cords lying in the cadaveric position permit the patient to carry on respiration with little embarrassment, but phonation is poor; however, the reverse is true if both cords lie paralyzed in the midline.
WORK WP. PARALYSIS AND PARESIS OF THE VOCAL CORDSA STATISTICAL REVIEW. Arch Otolaryngol. 1941;34(2):267–280. doi:10.1001/archotol.1941.00660040293004
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