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Case report

Dysarthria consequent to cervical spinal cord injury and recurrent laryngeal nerve damage: A case report

Bijoyaa Mohapatra, Nachiekta Rout
Communication Disorders, New Mexico State University, 88011 Las Cruces, Mexico. E-mail: bmohap@nmsu.edu
DOI: 10.2340/20030711-1000022

Abstract

Objective: To assess and describe the involvement of all speech subsystems, including respiration, phonation, articulation, resonance, and prosody, in an individual with cervical spinal cord injury.
Methods: Detailed speech and voice assessment was performed that included Frenchay Dysarthria Assessment, cranial nerve examination, voice (perceptual and instrumental) and nasometric evaluation, and intelligibility and communicative effectiveness.
Results: Impaired respiratory and phonatory control correlated with the physical impairment of C4 and C5 pro-lapsed intervertebral disc. Cranial nerve examination indicated nerve IX and XI pathology. Phonatory deficits such as imprecise consonants and mild sibilant distortions were apparent. Voice analysis revealed a hoarse, breathy voice with reduced loudness and no problems with resonance. Reading and speaking rate was reduced, and overall a mild reduction in communicative effectiveness was perceived.
Conclusion: Assessment of the speech subsystems produced a comprehensive picture of the patient’s condition and impairments in one or more areas was identified. Treatment options to improve speech outcomes were pro-vided.

Lay Abstract

This article presents information about a patient who had spinal cord injury. He demonstrated reduced speech and voice characteristics in addition to physical impairments. The individual’s speech was evaluated for changes, and prominent characteristics were reported, such as lack of breath support, reduced vocal loudness, hoarseness of the voice, and decreased speech clarity. Speech therapy options were suggested. There is little information in the scientific literature about patients who present significant speech problems after cervical spinal injury. Through presentation of this case study we hope to add valuable information to the clinical and scientific database.

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