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Thread: Effect of Intubation on Vocal Cords

  1. #1

    Effect of Intubation on Vocal Cords

    Silly question.

    I used to sing. Alot. Like I actively participated in the preforming arts. This past summer, I underwent numerous surgeries in a very short period of time. I think in a period of six weeks, I was intubated seven times. Lately, I've noticed that when I go to hit certain notes, my voice actually cracks or splits, kinda like a boy going through puberty.

    At one point in my hospital stay while I was in ICU, I was also hooked up to a ventilator for two weeks. Does anyone know if there are any long term effects of intubation on the vocal cords?

  2. #2
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    not silly at all!!!!!!!! I was intubated for 'only' a day when I got operated (not emergency)........

    I've wondered the same, if intubation affects vocal cords....i'm afraid they do, because I saw a documentary where a singer was in a crossroad because she had to be intubed but that would affect her carreer......

    I also think that in a SCI, if its too 'high' (cervical)and you dont have voluntarily movement in your chest muscles, itaffects the ammount of air you can breathe out and the speed of it, therefore you can't reach very high or low notes (that happens to me).....yet i think my cords are ok because when i sing in a very low voice, i dont split....

  3. #3
    HI,

    You haven't mentioned if you saw an ENT after your intubations, who would check your status. Please review this post and ask any further questions.
    http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/archive...p/t-86613.html

    AAD

  4. #4
    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    I had an operation about 25 years ago and I woke up in the recovery room while still intubated....I panicked and tried to yank out the tube and roughed up my vocal cords. From that I had no voice at all (except for a weak whisper) for 6 weeks. An ENT doc checked me out and said my vocal cords were not working but should come back. My voice just came back one morning. Even now though my voice cracks a lot and I find it difficult to talk for a long period of time (like only 5-10 minutes) without my voice cracking or getting noticeably weaker. I don't know about singing as I was never into that. Anyway, the intubation incident was definitely detrimental to my voice/vocal cords.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by KiranA
    Silly question.

    I used to sing. Alot. Like I actively participated in the preforming arts. This past summer, I underwent numerous surgeries in a very short period of time. I think in a period of six weeks, I was intubated seven times. Lately, I've noticed that when I go to hit certain notes, my voice actually cracks or splits, kinda like a boy going through puberty.

    At one point in my hospital stay while I was in ICU, I was also hooked up to a ventilator for two weeks. Does anyone know if there are any long term effects of intubation on the vocal cords?
    I too used to sing alot, and since my SCI and being intubated I can no longer "carry a note in a bucket". just one of a number of many things lost to SCI

    "But he was pierced for our transgressions,he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed" Isa 53:5

  6. #6
    Seeing the positions I intubated patients in the field or on an ambulance I don't see how it wouldn't hurt them. We tried to be careful but sometimes you're more worried about breathing than singing. It stinks how many little things people have had to lose because of this injury.
    Last edited by addiesue; 01-09-2008 at 02:42 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by addiesue
    Seeing the positions I intubated patients in the field or on an ambulance I don't see how it wouldn't hurt them. We tried to be careful but sometimes your more worried about breathing than singing. It stinks how many little things people have had to lose because of this injury.
    At least in the OR, you have the luxury of time on your side and normally can place the patient in an optimal position (not having to worry about possible cervical SCI). But as you said, in the field (and anywhere), establishing an airway is your number one priority. If the patient dies, nothing else much matters.

    I agree that getting an ENT consult should be the first stop. Damage to the larnygeal nerves, while unusual, can occur, and the risk is increased with anterior approach surgeries to the cervical spine. Other structures can be displaced as well. Problems are also more commonly seen with long-term intubations, two weeks would be considered long term (if ventilation is predicted to be required much longer than this, usually tracheostomies are performed, which are placed below the larynx). An ENT can diagnose exactly what has occurred and what can be done to fix it.

    Kiran, I hope you get your full singing voice back. I am jealous. I wish there was something I could do so that I could just sing without scaring my dogs out of the room.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by addiesue
    Seeing the positions I intubated patients in the field or on an ambulance I don't see how it wouldn't hurt them. We tried to be careful but sometimes your more worried about breathing than singing. It stinks how many little things people have had to lose because of this injury.
    The actor Jan-Michael Vincent suffered two broken necks due to drunken driving. After the second his voice changed so that he lost his role in the second part of the mini-series the Winds of War and War and Rememberence. He sued the ambulance crew and won. I believe he is now broke and living somewhere in Mississippi. Both accidents were his fault, in Hollywood and he's still walking.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  9. #9
    Would like to know more about that lawsuit. My run tickets on bad scenes used to be so long bc I was afraid of a lawsuit. If you don't write it then it didn't happen and they can say you did it wrong.
    Still walking and won a lawsuit. He doesn't know how lucky he was. Makes you wonder doesn't it.

  10. #10
    As a side note intubation could only help my singing. I envy those of you who can. I don't even like to sing alone in the shower or car. It's a scary sound.

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