Chin-down-plus-larynx-tightening maneuver improves choking cough after esophageal cancer surgery

Yongkui Yu, Yin Li, Yingmin Lu, Xionghuai Hua, Haibo Ma, Haomiao Li, Xiufeng Wei, Jun Zhang, Xiankai Chen, Qi Liu, Zhengshuai Zhu, Lei Xu, Ruixiang Zhang, Haibo Sun, Zongfei Wang


Background: Esophageal cancer patients can benefit from dissection of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) lymph node (LN); however, this procedure increases the risk of RLN injury. After nerve injury, many complications can occur, including choking cough, which can affect patients’ quality of life. This study examined the effectiveness of the chin-down-plus-larynx-tightening maneuver for improving choking cough after radical thoracic esophageal cancer surgery.
Methods: Sixty-two patients with resectable thoracic esophageal cancer presented with choking cough, hoarseness or vocal cord paralysis after radical operations. Twenty-two patients who choked on water were guided to swallow 1 mL of warm water using a chin-down-plus-larynx-tightening maneuver. Choking cough relief results and their relationships with clinical factors were analyzed.
Results: No correlation was found between the occurrence of post-operative choking cough and gender, age, surgical method, hoarseness, vocal cord fixation type, vocal cord fixation, or glottal closure. Multivariate regression analysis revealed no independent risk factors associated with choking cough. Choking cough was completely relieved in 17 of 22 (77.3%) patients. Fifteen of 19 (78.9%) patients with choking cough and hoarseness, and 2 of 3 patients with only choking cough reported complete relief when they tried the new maneuver. The chin-down-plus-larynx-tightening maneuver was more effective for males than for females.
Conclusions: The chin-down-plus-larynx-tightening maneuver significantly relieved choking cough; thus, this maneuver can aid in managing choking cough after radical thoracic esophageal cancer surgery.