August 08, 2009

A New Way to Diagnose Exercise-Induced Vocal Cord Dysfunction!

Researchers in Helsinki, Finland validated a new method to diagnose exercise-induced vocal cord dysfunction (VCD). And what a simple idea they came up with! In a study titled "Fiberoptic videolaryngoscopy during bicycle ergometry: A diagnostic tool for exercise-induced vocal cord dysfunction," the authors performed fiberoptic video laryngoscopy WHILE a patient was exercising on a bicycle. Given that so often the symptoms of vocal cord dysfunction occur ONLY when a patient has been exercising, this is a logical step to perform when trying to determine whether a patient has VCD or not.

Vocal cord dysfunction is a frightening medical situation when a patient suddenly and unexpectedly experiences the inability to breath due to their vocal cords suddenly coming together resulting in a high-pitched squeal known as stridor. An episode may last to the point that the patient faints from lack of oxygen. Read more about this condition here.

At least in my practice, I usually make the patient run around my office until symptoms start appearing and than have them quickly come into my office for the fiberoptic video laryngoscopy. Observing the vocal cords coming together when trying to breath is how diagnosis of VCD is made.

Watch a video of fiberoptic video laryngoscopy being performed here.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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