PVCM, PVCD, EPL, and irritable larynx syndrome: what are we talking about and how do we treat it?

J Voice. 2000 Dec;14(4):607-18. doi: 10.1016/s0892-1997(00)80016-8.


Paroxysmal vocal cord movement/motion (PVCM), paroxysmal vocal cord dysfunction (PVCD), episodic paroxysmal laryngospasm (EPL), and irritable larynx syndrome (ILS) are terms used to describe laryngeal dysfunction masquerading as asthma, upper airway obstruction, or functional and organic voice disorders. The differential diagnosis of PVCM, PVCD, EPL, and ILS is critical to successful medical and behavioral management of the patient. During the past 10 years, 27 subjects, ages 15-79 years, were identified to have paroxysms of inspiratory stridor, acute respiratory distress, associated aphonia and dysphonia, resulting in misdiagnosis and unnecessary emergency treatments, including endotracheal intubation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, massive pharmacotherapy, or tracheostomy. A multifactorial management program is proposed utilizing principles of motor learning, neurolinguistic programming model, respiratory and phonatory synchronization, relaxation techniques, concurrent monitoring of behavioral adjustments, and formal psychological counseling.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Laryngeal Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vocal Cords / physiopathology