Preliminary study of the open quotient in an ex vivo perfused human larynx

Abie H. Mendelsohn*, Zhaoyan Zhang, Georg Luegmair, Michael Orestes, Gerald S. Berke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE Scientific understanding of human voice production to date is a product of indirect investigations including animal models, cadaveric tissue study, or computational modeling. To our knowledge, direct experimentation of human voice production has previously not been possible owing to its invasive nature. The feasibility of an ex vivo perfused human phonatory model has recently allowed systematic investigation in virtually living human larynges with parametric laryngeal muscle stimulation. OBJECTIVE To investigate the association between adductor muscle group stimulation and the open quotient (OQ) (the fraction of the cycle during which the glottis remains open) of vocal fold vibration. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS An ex vivo perfused human tissue studywas conducted at a physiology laboratory. Human larynx recovered from organ donors within 2 hours of cardiac death was used. The study was performed on May 19, 2014; data analysis took place from June 1, 2014, to December 15, 2014. INTERVENTIONS Perfusion with donated human blood was reestablished shortly after cardiac death. Ex vivo perfused human phonation was then achieved by providing subglottal airflow under graded neuromuscular electrical stimulation bilaterally to the intrinsic adductor groups and cricothyroid muscles. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Phonation resulting from the graded states of neuromuscular stimulation was evaluated using high-speed vibratory imaging; the OQ was derived through digital kymography and glottal area waveform analysis. RESULTS During constant glottal flow, a stepwise increase in adductor muscle group stimulation decreased the OQ. Quantitatively, OQ values decreased with increased stimulation levels from2 V (OQ, 1) to 5 V (OQ, 0.68) and reached a lower limit of 8 V (OQ, 0.42). Increased stimulation above maximal muscle deformation was unable to affect OQ beyond this lower limit. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE To our knowledge, a negative association between adductor muscle group stimulation and phonatory OQ has been demonstrated for the first time in a neuromuscularly activated human larynx. Further experience with the ex vivo perfused human phonatory model will aid in systematically defining this causal relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-756
Number of pages6
JournalJAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


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