Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Injury Following Uncomplicated Carotid Angioplasty and Stenting

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To describe a unique instance of cranial nerve injury related to uncomplicated carotid artery stenting (CAS).

Case Report:

A 74-year-old woman with a history of expressive aphasia and right upper/ lower extremity weakness underwent staged CAS procedures under local anesthesia and conscious sedation. After routine predilation with a 4-mm balloon, a tapered 7×10×30-mm Acculink stent was placed and dilated with a 5-mm balloon. At 1 month after the second procedure, the carotid stents were patent bilaterally, but the patient reported voice fatigue and hoarseness along with dysphagia to liquids that started 2 days after her second procedure. Brain scans ruled out stroke. Direct laryngoscopy showed left vocal cord paralysis and a mobile right vocal cord; computed tomography revealed adduction of the left vocal cord consistent with a left recurrent laryngeal nerve injury. Radiography did not show any evidence of stent fracture. Electromyography was suggestive of right recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis and only mild abnormalities on the left. A repeat laryngoscopy performed 4 months after the initial evaluation revealed persistent left vocal fold paralysis and no abnormalities on the right. The patient was referred for voice therapy; at 18 months, the stents were patent, and her vocal symptoms had significantly improved.


While minimally invasive endovascular techniques evolve for management of vascular disease, the anatomical structures at risk during open procedures may be injured with endovascular approaches as well.

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