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Vocal Cord Dysfunction: Etiologies and Treatment

Morris, Michael J. COL, MC, USA*; Allan, Patrick F. MAJ, MC, USAF; Perkins, Patrick J. MD*

Clinical Pulmonary Medicine: March 2006 - Volume 13 - Issue 2 - p 73-86
doi: 10.1097/01.cpm.0000203745.50250.3b
Obstructive Airways Disease
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Vocal cord dysfunction, a syndrome of paradoxical inspiratory closure of the vocal cords, is becoming more frequently recognized and diagnosed recently since its initial modern description 30 years ago. Initially described as single case reports, the first case series in 1983 helped to clarify the typical patient and findings of vocal cord dysfunction. Recent investigations have elucidated specific etiologies such as gastroesophageal reflux, exercise, and irritants as causative factors in addition to the numerous associated psychologic factors. Speech therapy and psychotherapy have been used extensively with vocal cord dysfunction patients, but the optimal treatment has yet to be prospectively studied. This manuscript provides a comprehensive review of the reported causative factors and treatments for vocal cord dysfunction.

Vocal cord dysfunction or paradoxical inspiratory closure of the vocal cords has become more frequently recognized over the past 20 years. This manuscript provides a comprehensive review of the reported causative factors and treatments for vocal cord dysfunction. Recent investigations have elucidated specific organic etiologies as causative factors in addition to numerous well-described psychological factors. Speech therapy and psychotherapy have been extensively used to treat vocal cord dysfunction, but the optimal treatment course has yet to be prospectively studied.

From the *Pulmonary Disease/Critical Care Service, Department of Medicine, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX; and †Pulmonary Disease/Critical Care Service, Wilford Hall Air Force Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, TX.

The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as reflecting the opinion of the Department of the Army, the Department of the Air Force, or the Department of Defense.

No outside funding from any source was received during completion of the project or preparation of the manuscript.

Address correspondence to: Michael Morris, COL, MC, Department of Hospital Education, Brooke Army Medical Center, 3851 Roger Brooke Drive, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-6200. E-mail: michael.morris@amedd.army.mil.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.