Objectives: This report describes a case of vocal cord dysfunction at first misdiagnosed as reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS).
Methods: A woman developed recurrent episodes of cough, dyspnea, and wheezing unresponsive to asthma therapy after irritant exposure to glutaraldehyde. Direct laryngoscopy was performed immediately after the induction of symptoms.
Results: Laryngoscopy showed a paradoxical adduction of the vocal cord on inspiration. Vocal cord dysfunction was diagnosed.
Conclusions: A case of vocal cord dysfunction occurred after exposure to glutaraldhyde in a person with a history highly suggestive of RADS. Vocal cord dysfunction should always be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients with acute respiratory symptoms after exposure to irritants and with asthma-like symptoms that fail to respond to conventional asthma therapy.