Paradoxical vocal fold motion: presentation and treatment options

J Voice. 2000 Mar;14(1):99-103. doi: 10.1016/s0892-1997(00)80099-5.


Paradoxical vocal fold motion is a rare disorder in which adduction of the folds occurs on inspiration. The disorder presents with signs of airway obstruction and often airway distress, so proper diagnosis by the otorhinolaryngologist is critical to subsequent management. We present a retrospective review of 10 patients with the diagnosis of paradoxical vocal fold motion seen over a 6-year period. Eight patients were females, and 6 required an acute airway intervention at presentation; 3 patients eventually underwent tracheotomy for respiratory decompensation. Six patients had a prior diagnosis of asthma, and this was determined to contribute to their respiratory status. Five patients were treated with botulinum toxin and 2 with flexible nasolaryngoscopic biofeedback, which improved the outcome. A review of the literature confirms a female predominance of patients presenting with paradoxical adduction and airway distress, often with a history of asthma and psychopathology. Our experience with botulinum toxin and biofeedback suggests that these procedures are viable treatment options in the management of patients with this disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Airway Obstruction / complications
  • Airway Obstruction / surgery
  • Biofeedback, Psychology
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Diseases / complications
  • Laryngeal Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Laryngeal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuromuscular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tracheotomy / methods
  • Vocal Cords / innervation
  • Vocal Cords / physiopathology*


  • Neuromuscular Agents
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A