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Definition of Nerve palsy, laryngeal

Nerve palsy, laryngeal: Paralysis of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, a branch of the vagus nerve (a long and important nerve that originates in the brainstem and runs down to the colon). After the recurrent laryngeal nerve leaves the vagus nerve, it goes down into the chest and then loops back up to supply the larynx (the voice box).

Damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve can result from diseases inside the chest (intrathoracic diseases) such as a tumor or an aneurysm (ballooning) of the arch of the aorta or of the left atrium of the heart.

The consequence is damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve is laryngeal palsy, paralysis of the larynx (the voice box), on the affected side. Laryngeal palsy can also be caused by damage to the vagus nerve before it gives off the recurrent laryngeal nerve.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7637
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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