Study Objective Intraoperative neuromonitoring of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) is often used as an adjunct for RLN identification and preservation during thyroidectomies. Laryngotracheal anesthesia (LTA) with topical lidocaine reduces coughing upon emergence from anesthesia and in the immediate postoperative period; however, its use is prohibited with concerns that it could decrease the sensitivity of the intraoperative neuromonitoring. We hypothesize that there is no difference in measurements of nerve conduction made before and after LTA administration. Design An observational study in which all patients were subjected to LTA administration was conducted. Recurrent laryngeal nerve threshold currents were measured before and after the intervention. Setting Tertiary medical center operating room. Patients Eighteen patients (total of 25 nerves at risk) with American Society of Anesthesiologists classes 1 to 3 undergoing thyroid surgery. Interventions After the thyroid was removed and threshold currents at the RLN were obtained, LTA with endotracheal lidocaine was applied on the left and right side of the in situ endotracheal tube (2 cc of 4% lidocaine per side). Threshold currents were reassessed at 5 and 10 minutes after LTA administration. Measurements Threshold currents (minimum stimulus current applied to the RLN required to generate a discernible electromyographic response at the vocal cords) were recorded along the RLN for a baseline at 5 and 10 mm from the insertion point of the RLN into the larynx. Threshold currents were reassessed at the same 2 positions on the RLN at 5 and 10 minutes after LTA administration. Differences in mean values, between threshold currents recorded at the 3 different times, at 2 positions on the RLN, were used to compare effects of LTA on nerve conduction. Main Results There were no statistically significant differences when comparing threshold currents before and after LTA administration. Conclusions Laryngotracheal anesthesia had no significant effect on RLN nerve conduction in the period assessed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-13
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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