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Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 14
Clinical research

Evaluating the introduction of intraoperative neuromonitoring of the recurrent laryngeal nerve in thyroid and parathyroid surgery

Beata Wojtczak, Krzysztof Kaliszewski, Krzysztof Sutkowski, Mateusz Głód, Marcin Barczyński

Arch Med Sci 2018; 14, 2: 321–328
Online publish date: 2016/10/17
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Introduction: Paresis of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) is a complication of thyroid surgery. Neuromonitoring as is gaining acceptance among surgeons. The aim of the study was to assess the number of technical problems in the initial phase of intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) use and the specificity, sensitivity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value of neuromonitoring. The number of cases of postoperative paresis (transient and permanent) was assessed.

Material and methods: The prospective analysis included 101 thyroid operations with IONM (190 RLNs at risk of injury) in the period from January to April, 2012. Demographic data, rate of RLN identification, sensitivity, specificity and predictive value of the method, the duration of the procedurę and the percentage of RLN paresis were considered.

Results: The RLN was identified in 92% of the cases. Technical problems were observed in 12.98%, of which 61% were due to incorrect positioning of the endotracheal tube electrodes in relation to the vocal cords. The sensitivity, specificity, negative and positive predictive value and the accuracy of the method were respectively 71%, 98%, 62.5%, 98.9% and 97%. Early nerve injury occurred in 3.7% of the cases; 2.6% were temporary paresis and 1.1% permanent.

Conclusions: During the initial stages of implementing IONM we experienced technical problems that required correction in every tenth patient. The positive predictive value was relatively low; nevertheless, good results in terms of the rate of accurate identification of the RLN as well as the low rate of RLN paresis support the use of this method.

thyroid surgery, recurrent laryngeal nerve, intraoperative neuromonitoring, vocal cord paralysis

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