The forgotten cause of stridor in the emergency department

Open Access Emerg Med. 2017 Jan 16:9:19-22. doi: 10.2147/OAEM.S125593. eCollection 2017.


Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement Disorder is where the larynx exhibits paradoxical vocal cords closure during respiration, creating partial airway obstruction. Causes of vocal fold movement disorder are multifactorial, and patients describe tightness of throat, difficulty getting air in, have stridor, and do not respond to inhalers. We propose using transnasal laryngoscopy examination, which will show narrowing of vocal cords on inspiration, and The Pittsburgh Vocal Cord Dysfunction Index with a cutoff score of ≥4 to distinguish vocal fold movement disorder from asthma and other causes of stridor. Management of paradoxical vocal fold movement disorder involves a combination of pharmacological, psychological, psychiatric, and speech training. Paradoxical vocal fold movement disorder is a very treatable cause of stridor, so long as it is identified and other organic causes are excluded.

Keywords: emergency; paradoxical vocal fold movement disorder; stridor.