What is vocal cord dysfunction, and what is its relationship to asthma?

Updated: Nov 20, 2020
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Vocal cord dysfunction may exist alone or with asthma, it is caused by paradoxical adduction of the vocal cords during inspiration, and may disappear with panting, speech, or laughing. [45] Patients with chronic symptoms suggestive of asthma, normal spirometry, poor response to asthma medications, and frequent evaluations should be evaluated for vocal cord dysfunction. [46] Usually, the diagnosis can be made using direct laryngoscopy, but only during symptomatic periods or after exercise. The presence of flattening of the inspiratory limb of the flow-volume loop may also suggest vocal cord dysfunction, but this is only seen in 28% of patients at baseline. [47]

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