Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is defined by inappropriate closure of the vocal cords during inspiration, the time when air is taken into the lungs. The cause of VCD is unclear but may be related to gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn), postnasal drip due to allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or other reasons, inhaled irritants or a neurologic cause.

Symptoms of VCD include cough, hoarseness, shortness of breath during inspiration, throat tightness and wheezing. Many of these symptoms overlap significantly with asthma symptoms and can co-exist with asthma in some patients. Some common VCD symptom triggers include exposure to strong odors such as cleaning products, perfume or smoke as well exercise and also strong emotions such as stress. Treatment of vocal cord dysfunction requires correct diagnosis based clinical history and laryngoscopy, direct visualization of the vocal cords after chemical provocation or during an acute episode of symptoms. Treatment involves speech therapy, education and reassurance and treatment of underlying disorders such as heartburn and hay fever.


  • Evaluation for Vocal Cord Dysfunction Based on Clinical History and Lung Function Testing and Treatment of Underlying Disorders
    • Referral for Rhinolaryngoscopy for Diagnosis
    • Referral for Speech Therapy for Education and Treatment