Vocal Cord Dysfunction

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Swedish Otolaryngology

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Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD), also know as paradoxical vocal cord movement, is characterized by abnormal closure (adduction) of the vocal folds during respiration. This typically occurs during the inhalatory phase of breathing and results in some degree of airflow obstruction at the level of the larynx. It may mimic asthma in it's symptomatology, and is often associated with irritation of the laryngeal mucosa. It can also be triggered or exacerbated by stress and anxiety.

The larynx may become overly sensitive due to irritation from sources including reflux, sinusitis with drainage, post nasal drainage from allergies, coughing, and excessive throat clearing. This sensitivity may then contribute to abnormal movement of the vocal folds during breathing.