The experiments herein reported were performed in an attempt to explain serious stridor arising in a patient on whom thyroidectomy was being performed.
The patient was a middle-aged man with an average degree of hyperthyroidism of a toxic diffuse type. A routine thyroid incision, splitting the ribbon muscles in the midline, was made with the patient under ethylene anesthesia. When hemostats were put on the capsule of the right lobe preparatory to excision of the lobe, mild stridor developed. During the process of excising the lobe, mild tension was applied on it to effect delivery. The stridor increased markedly, until it became so severe as to indicate almost complete obstruction of the airway by the time the excision had approached the trachea. A rapid search was made for the recurrent laryngeal nerve; it was found lying in the usual position, but no clamps were within 1/4 inch (0.6 cm.) of
COLE WH. LARYNGEAL SPASM AND SO-CALLED TRACHEAL COLLAPSE: EXPERIMENTAL AND CLINICAL STUDIES. Arch Surg. 1939;39(1):10–27. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1939.01200130013003
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