Compound Motor Action Potential Measures Acute Changes in Laryngeal Innervation

Neel K. Bhatt, Wee Tin K. Kao, Randal C. Paniello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Vocal fold paralysis is caused by injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN). Current clinical measures of laryngeal innervation are often nonquantitative. Compound motor action potentials (CMAP) measure motor innervation. The goal of this study was to determine whether CMAP can quantify laryngeal innervation following acute nerve injury. Study Design: Animal study. Methods: Twelve canine hemilaryngeal preparations were used. The RLN was serially stimulated with increasing intensities until the nerve was maximally stimulated. The CMAP amplitude was measured for each intensity stimulation and correlated. Next, the RLN was incompletely transected, and the reduction in CMAP amplitude was correlated to the percentage of transected axons. The percentage of transected axons was determined using horseradish peroxidase (HRP) staining. Results: Combining all hemilaryngeal preparations, the submaximal stimulation of the RLN linearly correlated with the resultant CMAP amplitude (r = 0.83; 95% CI, 0.76-0.88). Following partial RLN transection, the percentage of remaining axons linearly correlated with the CMAP amplitude (r = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.34-0.98). Conclusions: CMAP amplitude is a quantitative measure that may correlate with the degree of vocal fold innervation in canines. Following RLN injury, CMAP may help clinicians quantify the number of intact axons, assess the likelihood of recovery, and counsel patients on their prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-666
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • compound motor action potential
  • recurrent laryngeal nerve
  • vocal fold paralysis


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