The effect of unilateral vocal cord paralysis and intracordal Teflon injection on maximum expiratory and inspiratory flows was studied in 15 consecutive patients. Ten patients had a ratio of forced expiratory flow to forced inspiratory flow at 50% vital capacity (Ve50/Vi50) more than one. Of the remaining five, four had low Ve50 consistent with underlying bronchial disease. Repeat studies were obtained in 10 patients two or more weeks after Teflon injection into a vocal cord for voice therapy. Maximum expiratory flow rates did not change (means 6.64 +/- 0.881/sec before and 6.47 +/- 1.101/s after injection). Inspiratory flow at 50% vital capacity improved in all six patients with a forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) greater than 75% of the forced vital capacity (FVC). In patients with an FEV1 less than 75% FVC, no consistent changes could be seen. We conclude that a high Ve50/Vi50 suggestive of variable extrathoracic airways obstruction is a frequent finding in the presence of unilateral vocal cord paralysis. Teflon injection does not cause a significant reduction in forced expiratory flows and improves inspiratory flows in subjects without evidence of underlying bronchial disease.
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