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Isolated vocal cord palsy secondary to a paraoesophageal hiatus hernia: a rare variant of Ortner’s syndrome
  1. Sean Dolan1,
  2. Claire McArthur2 and
  3. Malcolm A Buchanan1
  1. 1Otolaryngology, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2Radiology, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sean Dolan; dolan931{at}


Dysphonia is a common presenting symptom to the outpatient ear, nose and throat team and the need to have a systematic approach to its investigation and management is imperative. Red flag features combined with clinical examination including flexible nasoendoscopy will help to identify laryngeal causes of dysphonia. Vocal cord palsy can have both laryngeal and extralaryngeal aetiologies including Ortner’s syndrome. We present a case where a woman in her 70s was referred with persistent hoarseness, found to have an isolated vocal cord palsy with CT scan revealing a very large hiatus hernia producing mass effect at the aortopulmonary window with no other pathology identified. To our knowledge, this is the second case in the literature of a hiatus hernia causing a vocal cord palsy. This case underpins the need for prompt assessment by flexible laryngoscopy, and consideration of extralaryngeal causes of vocal cord palsy during a dysphonia assessment.

  • Ear, nose and throat/otolaryngology
  • Medical education

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  • Contributors SD Contribution-Drafting of the original manuscript, patient consenting, review and editing of final manuscript. CM Contribution-Acquisition of cross-sectional images, analysis, review and editing of the final manuscript. MAB-Data collection, analysis, drafting of the original manuscript, editing of the final manuscript for publication.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.