Vocal Cord Dysfunction
- 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 in dyspnea, wheezing, and stridor.
- Synonym(s): paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM)
Not well defined
- Unknown; likely uncommon in the general population
- Most frequently diagnosed in patients evaluated for asthma and exercise-induced dyspnea
- Female predominance, 2:1 (1)
- 71% of patients are adults and 29% of patients <18 years of age; also, has been diagnosed in young children/infants (1)
- Suspect occurrence in approximately 3% of intercollegiate athletes with exercise-induced asthma (2).
Etiology and Pathophysiology
- Exact etiology is unclear—both organic and nonorganic causes have been identified.
- Possible laryngeal hyperresponsiveness to irritants, such as smoke, dust, postnasal drip, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), URI, or other irritants (3)
- Noncompetitive and competitive exercises—unknown mechanism (4)
- Psychological factors such as anxiety, severe social stresses (e.g., competitive sports), history of sexual abuse (2)
See “Commonly Associated Conditions.”
Commonly Associated Conditions
- Psychological conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and panic disorder
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