Atypical expiratory flow volume curve in an asthmatic patient with vocal cord dysfunction

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2001 Apr;86(4):439-43. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)62492-1.


Background: Vocal cord dysfunction can coexist with or masquerade as asthma. Vocal cord dysfunction, when coexistent with asthma, contributes substantially to the refractory nature of the respiratory problem.

Objective: To report a case of an asthmatic patient with vocal cord dysfunction and a previously unreported unique expiratory flow volume curve.

Results: A 16-year-old female, known to have asthma, developed increased frequency of her asthma exacerbations. Spirometry, during symptoms, showed an extrathoracic airway obstruction with a reproducible unique abrupt drop and rise in the expiratory flow volume loop. Laryngoscopy showed adduction of the vocal cords during inspiration and expiration.

Conclusions: We report a unique expiratory flow volume curve in an asthmatic with vocal cord dysfunction that resolved with panting maneuvers. Speech and psychological counseling helped prevent future attacks.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Airway Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Maximal Expiratory Flow-Volume Curves
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Vocal Cords* / pathology
  • Voice Disorders / complications
  • Voice Disorders / diagnosis
  • Voice Disorders / physiopathology*