Magnetic resonance imaging findings in pediatric bilateral vocal fold dysfunction

Joel I. Steiner*, A. Michelle Fink, Robert G. Berkowitz

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: We studied the findings of brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in infants with idiopathic congenital bilateral vocal fold dysfunction (CBVFD). Methods: We performed a retrospective investigation of a case series. Results: We identified 26 children (14 male, 12 female) over 11 years. Three children were excluded. Thirteen patients required airway interventions, including continuous positive airway pressure (4 patients), endotracheal intubation (1), and tracheostomy (8). The findings on brain MRI were abnormal in 8 patients (35%). Tracheostomy was required in 3 patients (38%) with abnormal MRI findings, as compared with 5 of 15 patients (33%) with normal MRI findings. The MRI abnormalities involved evidence of white matter injury (2), abnormal white matter signal (1), subdural blood (3), cerebral swelling (1), and perisylvian polymicrogyria (1). The cranial ultrasound findings were abnormal in 4 of 11 patients. The MRI findings were abnormal in 2 of 7 children in whom the cranial ultrasound findings were normal, and in 2 of the 4 patients in whom the cranial ultrasound findings were abnormal. Conclusions: The MRI abnormalities were nonspecific; however, they may indicate unrecognized perinatal intracranial injury as being related to CBVFD. In addition, MRI may reveal an underlying structural brain anomaly. Cranial ultrasound has poor sensitivity and specificity. Hence, MRI should be considered as part of the routine assessment of neonates with CBVFD.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)417-420
    Number of pages4
    JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


    • Congenital vocal fold palsy
    • Magnetic resonance imaging
    • Vocal fold
    • Vocal fold paralysis


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