Speech Therapy

Vocal Cord Dysfunction Overview

To know what exactly is vocal cord dysfunction (VCD), you must first know how the vocal cords actually function. This disorder is also known as paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM). Your vocal cords are located at the top of the trachea (windpipe). They vibrate when exhaling air and thus, produce voice and noise. The act of breathing causes your vocal cords to open and allows air floe via the trachea (windpipe) and into your lungs. When one suffers from vocal cord dysfunction, the vocal cords constrict or close together, during inhaling or exhaling process. This leads to only a small opening for the air to flow through the windpipe. It causes asthma-like signs and symptoms. Read on to know more about vocal cord dysfunction. Vocal Cord Dysfunction Overview

History of Vocal Cord Dysfunction
This condition was discovered in recent times. The first appearance of vocal cord dysfunction was observed in medical literature in the year 1951. This dysfunction was characterized as a “lying” symptom by the patient. In the following years, this voice disorder was known by several names, including laryngeal dysfunction, irritable larynx, mimicking asthma and factitious asthma.

In the year 1983, a group of patients who reportedly suffered from “uncontrolled asthma”, were observed at National Jewish Health for checking and evaluation. A special team of medical professionals including speech-language pathologists, psychiatrists, otolaryngologists and pulmonologists were successful in identifying the condition as VCD and provided appropriate treatment.

Vocal Cord Dysfunction – What Happens?
In normal cases, the vocal cords, which reside over the airway at the larynx (voice box), open to allow air to flow through when you take a deep breath. Next, the vocal cords shut and vibrate over the airway to produce sound while you talk. In people with vocal cord dysfunction, these cords close on its own with inhaling process, making it very difficult for the person to breathe.

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