Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is a poorly understood entity that is often misdiagnosed as asthma. We report eleven cases of VCD in which there was a temporal association between VCD onset and occupational or environmental exposure. We conducted a case-control study to determine if the characteristics of irritant-exposed VCD (IVCD) cases differed from non-exposed VCD controls. Chart review of VCD patients at the authors' institution produced 11 cases that met IVCD case criteria. Thirty-three control VCD subjects were selected by age matching. There were statistical differences between the groups in ethnicity and chest discomfort. There were no statistical differences between the groups for gender, tobacco, smoking habits, symptoms, or pulmonary function parameters. Varied irritant exposures were associated with IVCD. IVCD should be considered in patients presenting with respiratory symptoms occurring after irritant exposures.
From the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Biostatistics, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, Colo. (Dr Perkner, Dr Fennelly, Dr Balkissoon, Dr Bucher Bartelson, Dr Newman); and the Departments of Medicine and Preventive Medicine and Biometrics (Dr Ruttenber), Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colo. (Dr Wood).
Address correspondence to: Lee S. Newman, MD, MA, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, 1400 Jackson St, Rm G010, Denver, CO 80206.