Objective: Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. It affects as many as 5% of the population over 65 years old, and this number is growing annually due to the aging population. A significant portion of stroke patients that initially survive are faced with the risk of aspiration, as well as quality-of-life issues relating to impaired communication. The goal of this paper is to define the scope of practice in otolaryngology for these patients, and to review pertinent background literature. Study Design: Consensus report and retrospective literature review. Results: Otolaryngology involvement in these patients is critical to their rehabilitation, which often requires an interdisciplinary team of specialists. This committee presentation explores epidemiological data regarding the impact of stroke and its complications on hospitalizations. A pertinent review of neuroanatomy as it relates to laryngeal function is also discussed. State-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic procedures are presented. Conclusion: There is a well-defined set of diagnostic and therapeutic options for laryngeal dysfunction in the stroke patient. Significance: Otolaryngologists play a critical role in the interdisciplinary rehabilitation team.
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