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Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Thomas A. Haroldson, MD and James E. Hougas, III, MD, FAAFP Reviewed 06/2018
 


BASICS

DESCRIPTION

  • Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD): a breathing disorder in which vocal cords adduct inappropriately. This occurs primarily on inspiration and produces airflow obstruction that may result ...

DIAGNOSIS

HISTORY

  • Recurrent episodes of “difficulty breathing in,” wheezing, throat or chest tightness, choking sensation, stridor, panic, and agitation

  • Stridulous sounds that are loudest above the thro...

TREATMENT

GENERAL MEASURES

  • Short term

    • Asthma control/treatment with appropriate meds, if coexisting (3)[C]

    • Reassurance and relaxation techniques:

      • Pursing lips

      • Panting (rapid, shallow breathing)

      • Diaphragmati...

ONGOING CARE

PROGNOSIS

Spontaneous resolution is common. 

REFERENCES

1
Morris MJ, Allan PF, Perking PJ. Vocal cord dysfunction: etiologies and treatment. Clin Pulm Med.  2006;13(2):73–86.
2
Ibrahim WH, Gheriani HA, Almohamed AA, et al. Paradoxical vocal co...

ADDITIONAL READING

  • Deckert J, Deckert L. Vocal cord dysfunction. Am Fam Physician.  2010;81(2):156–159.

  • Jain S, Bandi V, Zimmerman J, et al. Incidence of vocal cord dysfunction in patients present...

CODES

ICD10

  • J38.3 Other diseases of vocal cords

  • J38.00 Paralysis of vocal cords and larynx, unspecified

  • J38.1 Polyp of vocal cord and larynx

  • J38.01 Paralysis of vocal cords and larynx, unilateral

  • J38.02 Pa...

CLINICAL PEARLS

  • Always consider VCD in poorly controlled asthmatics.

  • A multidisciplinary approach may be required for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Speech therapy is the mainstay of long-term treatment.

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