The purpose of this thesis is to examine the effects of inhaled corticosteroid drugs (ICs) on the voice due to their frequent use in treating an increasing prevalence of asthma disorders. As part of a larger five-year study, the focus of this thesis is specifically on whether 8 weeks of in vivo exposure to ICs will cause changes in the sustained subglottal pressure, sustained airflow, and visual-perceptual ratings of edema and erythema in excised rabbit larynges. Researchers administered either ICs or a control nebulized isotonic saline solution to 22 rabbits in vivo, sacrificed them, and harvested their larynges for benchtop research. While ensuring proper tissue preservation, researchers then finely dissected the larynges to expose the true vocal folds and run phonation trials. Dependent variables included continuous acoustic signals (Hz), subglottal pressure (cm H2O), and airflow (L/min) data for 15 phonation trials per rabbit larynx. Researchers also collected still image photographs at this time and subsequently normalized them for use in the visual-perceptual portion of this thesis. For visual-perceptual ratings, raters used a 0-3 equal appearing interval scale to rate aspects of edema and erythema on left and right vocal fold and arytenoid tissues. Results indicate that, when compared to control larynges exposed to nebulized isotonic saline, experimental larynges treated with ICs require significantly higher subglottal pressure to maintain phonation, p < .05. Mean sustained phonation for experimental larynges is 11.24 cm H2O compared to 8.92 cm H2O for that of control larynges. Phonation trials for experimental larynges have significantly higher sustained airflow with a mean of 0.09 L/min compared to 0.07 L/min for that of control larynges, p < .05. Surprisingly, experimental larynges have higher average fundamental frequencies with less variability (mean: 519 Hz, standard deviation: 66 Hz) than that of control larynges (mean: 446 Hz, standard deviation: 130 Hz). On visual-perceptual ratings, experimental larynges have significantly higher severity ratings on all eight items rated, p < .0001 - p = .0305. Based on these results, it is concluded that ICs cause significant damage to rabbit vocal folds, as evidenced by higher sustained pressure, higher airflow, and higher severity ratings for experimental versus control larynges. The dependent variables in this thesis are novel in benchtop model research and demonstrate a unique perspective on this research question. Thus, this thesis informs future phonation, benchtop, and visual-perceptual research.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





combination inhaled corticosteroids, asthma, excised larynx, rabbit larynx, subglottic pressure, subglottic airflow, visual-perceptual assessment



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