Dysphonia in extremely preterm children: A longitudinal observation
Taylor & Francis
Place of Publication
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Introduction. Dysphonia is a potential long-term complication of preterm birth. Childhood voice disorders caused by vocal hyperfunction resolve with pubertal changes to the vocal mechanism in many cases. In extremely preterm children, whose voice quality is affected by supraglottic hyperfunction adapted secondary to underlying structural laryngeal pathology sustained during neonatal intubation, the prognosis is unknown. Methods. A pilot study was conducted to assess the incidence and severity of dysphonia in children born at < 25 weeks’ gestation. Ten individuals, aged between 9.67 and 17.08 years, presented for repeat assessment in a replication and extension of the original study. The mean period between assessments was 2.85 (SD 0.38) years. The primary outcome measure was the severity score on the Consensus Auditory-Perceptual Evaluation of Voice (CAPE-V), with the Acoustic Voice Quality Index score as the secondary outcome measure. Scores on the Pediatric Voice Handicap Index were also compared. Results. Perceptual dysphonia severity scores were significantly lower on repeat assessment, but no differences were observed in objective or quality of life scores. Individual variation was observed: the difference in CAPE-V scores ranged from –36 to + 1. No participant presented with normal voice quality on repeat assessment. Discussion. Analysis of group data masked individual variability in this series. Mechanisms underlying such individual variation are currently unknown. These data suggest that dysphonia is persistent in extremely preterm children. Conclusion. Further investigation is warranted to elucidate the progression of voice disorders in extremely preterm children, to inform prognostic predictors and treatment decisions.