Vocal Cord Dysfuntion

Vocal Cord Dysfunction Treatment — Seattle

What is Vocal Cord Dysfunction?

Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) or paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM) is a laryngeal disorder that interferes with normal respiration. During an episode of VCD, the vocal folds close together to some degree (partially or fully) during inhalation and/or exhalation. This restricts the airway opening to the windpipe and may also result in voice changes or hoarseness. Often there will be associated stridor or a wheezing noise, especially when trying to breathe in. There may also be a sense of tightness in the throat or chest.

What causes VCD?

Commonly reported triggers for VCD include exercise, extreme temperatures (hot or cold), strong scents or odors, other irritants of the throat and airway such as reflux or post nasal drainage and emotional stressors.

How is VCD Treated?

As this disorder is often confused with asthma, the use of inhalers may be recommended. However, VCD will not typically respond to inhalers in the way that asthma does. VCD may co-occur with asthma, complicating the diagnosis.

VCD or PVFM is treated both medically and behaviorally. Medical intervention involves proper management of any sources of irritation such as reflux or allergies. Behavioral intervention with a qualified Speech Pathologist addresses vocal technique, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises. This is usually very helpful in the management of an episode and in learning to avoid triggers.