Vocal cord dysfunction.


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Abstract

Vocal cord dysfunction involves inappropriate vocal cord motion that produces partial airway obstruction. Patients may present with respiratory distress that is often mistakenly diagnosed as asthma. Exercise, psychological conditions, airborne irritants, rhinosinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or use of certain medications may trigger vocal cord dysfunction. The differential diagnosis includes asthma, angioedema, vocal cord tumors, and vocal cord paralysis. Pulmonary function testing with a flow-volume loop and flexible laryngoscopy are valuable diagnostic tests for confirming vocal cord dysfunction. Treatment of acute episodes includes reassurance, breathing instruction, and use of a helium and oxygen mixture (heliox). Long-term management strategies include treatment for symptom triggers and speech therapy.

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