Unusual cause of hoarseness: Arytenoid cartilage dislocation without a traumatic event.

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Arytenoid cartilage dislocation is a rare but curable cause of hoarseness and is commonly related to intubation or laryngeal trauma. We present a case of arytenoid cartilage dislocation without a traumatic event in a man who complained of acute hoarseness. An 82-year-old man visited our emergency department complaining of acute hoarseness. He had no history of general anesthesia or laryngeal trauma and had not caught a cold. He showed no abnormal physical findings including the pharynx. Examination using a laryngoscope revealed that the left vocal fold was fixed in the paramedian position. We performed contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT), but we could not find any cause of the left recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis. His hoarseness persisted for one month and the initial CT was therefore reassessed. It was found that the left arytenoid cartilage was dislocated forward, and we therefore made a diagnosis of arytenoid cartilage dislocation without a traumatic event. We tried to refer him to an otolaryngologist for surgical treatment, but he declined. Fortunately, his hoarseness gradually improved over a period of two months. Arytenoid cartilage dislocation rarely occurs without a traumatic event. CT is useful for accurate diagnosis of this condition. Since early diagnosis can lead to appropriate surgical treatment and improvement in vocal function, the possibility of arytenoid cartilage dislocation should be considered in patients with acute hoarseness without apparent causes.

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