Vocal cord abductor paralysis (VCAP) is rare in Parkinson's disease (PD), while it is frequent in multiple system atrophy (MSA). Although VCAP is a life-threatening complication it has not yet been clarified whether there is any difference in the mechanism of VCAP between PD and MSA. Examining 3 autopsy-proven PD patients who developed severe VCAP requiring tracheostomy, we found the following differences in the mechanism of VCAP between MSA and PD: (1) clinical and laryngofiberscopic examination showed that VCAP in PD was not exacerbated during sleep, unlike in MSA; (2) On histological examination of the intrinsic laryngeal muscles, the posterior cricoarytenoid muscle demonstrated no abnormalities in PD, while the muscle showed characteristic neurogenic atrophy in MSA. There seemed to be two types of VCAP, namely the nonparalytic type observed in PD, and the paralytic type observed in MSA. Severe dysphagia requiring tube-feeding was common among PD patients who presented with VCAP. Although the relationship between VCAP and dysphagia is unknown, one should be aware of the possibility of fatal VCAP in PD patients with severe dysphagia.