Background: We published the world’s first case of hemi-laryngpharyngeal spasm (HELPS) syndrome cured by microvascular decompression (MVD) of the Xth cranial nerve in 2016. We now present a small cohort of patients (n=3) successfully treated with surgery in order to better delineate the common characteristics of this syndrome, diagnostic tests of choice, nuances of their surgical care and outcomes of their treatment. Methods: The history and physical examination of three patients with HELPS syndrome are presented. Pre-operative laryngoscopy, neuroimaging, response to botox and intra-operative videos are detailed. Post-operative outcome and complications are presented. Results: Each patient reported similar motor (choking) and sensory (coughing) features in their history. Episodic choking relentlessly progressed over the years until it occurred while sleeping and with frightening severity prompting tracheostomy in one patient and intubation in another. A “tickling” sensation deep in the throat triggered episodic coughing that worsened over the years until it occurred while sleeping and with frightening severity (syncope and incontinence). Conclusions: A review of the literature suggests that patients with similar symptoms, often called episodic laryngospasm in the past, have been treated with psychotherapy or antacids. With the recognition that a clearly defined subset of these patients have HELPS syndrome, we can offer them the potential of a neurosurgical cure.
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