Latencies longer than 3.5 ms after vagus nerve stimulation does not exclude a nonrecurrent inferior laryngeal nerve
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Background: It has recently been reported that a signal latency shorter than 3.5 ms after electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve signify a nonrecurrent course of the inferior laryngeal nerve. We present a patient with an ascending nonrecurrent inferior laryngeal nerve. In this patient, the stimulation latency was longer than 3.5 ms.
Case presentation: A 74-years old female underwent redo surgery due to a right-sided recurrent nodular goitre. The signal latency on electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve at the level of the carotid artery bifurcation was 3.75 ms. Further dissection revealed a nonrecurrent but ascending course of the inferior laryngeal nerve. Caused by the recurrent goitre, the nerve was elongated to about 10 cm resulting in this long latency.
Conclusion: This case demonstrates that the formerly proposed “3.5 ms rule” for identifying a nonrecurrent course of the inferior laryngeal nerve has exceptions. A longer latency does not necessarily exclude a nonrecurrent laryngeal nerve.
Michael Brauckhoff et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.