April 01, 2011

Video of Exercise Induced Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Vocal cord dysfunction (also known as paradoxical vocal cord movement) is a condition where the true vocal cords (TVC) do not move the way they are supposed to. Normally, the vocal cords move apart (abduct) when breathing and come together (adduct) when talking.

Vocal cord dysfunction is when the vocal cords adduct (come together) when breathing resulting in shortness of breath and at its worst, complete airway obstruction resulting in stridor known as laryngospasm.

The video shown here shows a patient with exercise induced vocal cord dysfunction (her breathing attacks occur only with exercise). The first part of the video shows this patient at rest breathing normally. The latter half of the video shows the patient after exercising and suffering from a mild case of vocal cord dysfunction.

Note how the vocal cords come together briefly with inhalation causing the patient to perceive inadequate breathing.

Treatment depends on finding the trigger and addressing the trigger whether it be allergy, reflux, etc. If all possible triggers have been ruled-out, neuropathic medications like neurontin and elavil can be tried. If the side effects are unacceptable or the medications just do not work, botox injections to the vocal cords can be performed.

Speech therapy can also be pursued in order to learn coping mechanisms to help a patient deal with an attack when it happens.

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.


Anonymous said...

For 5 years my son was mis-diagnosed with asthma..I kept telling his doctor dat the inhalers weren't doing anything..a specialist checked him and still believed it was asthma..several frustrating years and finally a sports medicine doctor believed it was VCD based on the symptoms I described..the specialist performed various test and came to the same conclusion that it must be VCD..my son only gets it during exercises when he has to exert himself..otherwise he's fine..I've asked my doctors if their was anything or new medication he could take or if surgery was an option..they all agree surgery isn't an option and their are no new medication to take..we've tried a speech therapist and it help jus a little with the breathing exercising but since he does wrestling and judo, its hard to practice ur breathing in the middle of the match...its just so frustrating..he's a good kid and wants to compete by the quality of life especially since he's 16 has really affected him..I read about botox injection?..how effective is it?...we live in Hawaii and I'm not sure if any Kaiser Doctors are aware of such procedures...any advice would be greatly appreciative....Hiram....email is exgmc@yahoo.com..

Anonymous said...

My son has been diagnosed with VCD and its been such a struggle for him to deal with it especially since he's had it for over 8 yrs..the attacks only happen during heavy exercises..the treatment we were offered was to seek a speach therapist..the breathing exercises helped but doesn't prevent it from.occuring..surgery was not offered by doctors so I was wondering how effective is botox treatment..any negative effects or concerns?..we live in Hawaii but wondering if you knew anyone here that is very familiar with my son's condition...any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated...Hiram....email is exgmc@yahoo.com..

Unknown said...

Hello, I am 47 years old. I have been just diagnosed with this terrible VCD. I have been placed in the hospital for 4 days to no avail. I have been given steriods and other medications. My life feels like it's coming to an end. Although, I have been told that it isn't life threatening, well I say to them let's switch bodies in the midst of an attack and tell me how you feel. I know that sound rather odd but, how do they know what it is like unless they feel it. I pray that your child finds relief.

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