Motor innervation of the cricopharyngeus muscle by the recurrent laryngeal nerve.
Patients with recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) paresis demonstrate impaired function of laryngeal muscles and swallowing. The cricopharyngeus muscle (CPM) is a major component of the upper esophageal sphincter. It was hypothesized that the RLN innervates this muscle. A nerve branch leading from the RLN to the CPM was found in adult sheep by anatomic dissection. Electrical stimulation of the RLN elicited a muscle action potential recorded by electrodes placed in the ipsilateral CPM. Swallowing was investigated by mechanical stimulation of oropharynx pre- and postsectioning of the RLN. Severing of the RLN resulted in a loss of the early phases of swallow-related CPM electromyographic activity; however, late-phase CPM electromyographic activity persisted. The RLN provides motor innervation of the CPM, which also has innervation from the pharyngeal plexus.
Hammond, CS; Davenport, PW; Hutchison, A; Otto, RA
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