Objectives: Paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM) consists of intermittent adduction of the vocal folds during inspiration, resulting in stridor and worsened by anxiety and stress. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of PVFM on quality of life in our pediatric patient population.
Study design: This is a prospective, descriptive survey study.
Methods: Thirty-nine consecutive patients (ages 12-17 years) presenting with a PVFM diagnosis for respiratory retraining sessions with speech-language pathology were recruited. Patients completed a brief demographic questionnaire and the Short Form 36, version 2, a validated tool for measuring health-related quality of life.
Results: There were 31 (79%) girls and 8 (21%) boys with a mean age of 15.5 years. Subjects reported regular participation in competitive extracurricular activities, including track or cross country (30.8%), swimming (17.9%), and cheerleading or dancing (15.4%). Of the patients in the study, 46.2% were straight-A students. On the SF-36 (population averages normalized to a score of 50), the general health of patients with PVFM was better than that of the general population (53.27); however, their physical health limited their role activities more severely (42.82). In addition, a greater proportion of the group with PVFM was at risk for first-stage depression screening when compared with the general population (28% versus 18%).
Conclusions: We demonstrate a measurable detrimental impact of PVFM on health-related quality of life. This is consistent with previously published literature showing a preponderance of females with PVFM, most of whom are high achievers academically and athletically.
Keywords: Adolescent health; Health surveys; Paradoxical vocal fold (SF-36) motion; Pediatric airway; Quality of life.
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