Vocal Cord Dysfunction Clinical Presentation

Updated: May 15, 2018
  • Author: Praveen Buddiga, MD, FAAAAI; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Presentation

History

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  • Wheezing

  • Cough

  • A feeling of tightness in the throat

  • Hoarseness and voice change

  • Stridor

  • Shortness of breath

  • Dyspnea on exertion

  • Inspiratory difficulty

  • Sudden episodes of shortness of breath

  • Unresponsiveness to bronchodilators and corticosteroids

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Physical

See the list below:

  • Laryngeal auscultation may reveal harsh stridulous sounds during symptoms.

  • Wheezing may be heard in the chest (transmitted from the upper airway).

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Causes

Problems associated with vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) include the following:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease, laryngopharyngeal reflux

  • Upper airway inflammation due to allergies (rhinitis), sinusitis, or recurrent viral infections

  • Strenuous exercise [15, 16, 17, 18, 19]

  • Occupational or other exposure to irritant fumes [20, 9, 3]

  • Environmental allergens and/or pollutants

  • Psychogenic causes (eg, severe emotional stress)

Bodily sensations such as throat tightening, wheeze, and cough can feed into a cycle of panic that exacerbates symptoms. [68]

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