Vocal Cord Dysfunction: An Often-misdiagnosed Condition

Sarah M. Jabusch, MS Clinical Research; Timothy M. Hinson, PharmD, AE-C


US Pharmacist. 2017;42(9):34-39. 

In This Article


VCD is a spectrum of uncommon, complex breathing disorders related to laryngeal dysfunction, and the most common presenting symptom is dyspnea upon exertion.[10,13] The true prevalence and incidence of VCD are not known because of inconsistencies in the disorder's definition and diagnostic criteria and because patients can have concomitant VCD and EIB or asthma.[9,10] In 148 recreational athletes and middle-school to collegiate-level athletes evaluated for respiratory complaints upon exercise, 70% had confirmed VCD.[10] Of those with confirmed VCD, 31% had concomitant EIB and 6% had concomitant asthma.[10] The female-to-male ratio, which exceeded 2:1, was consistent with that in other studies that concluded that VCD is more prevalent in females, especially female athletes; therefore, pharmacists should be aware of female athletes who present to the pharmacy poorly controlled on their current asthma medication regimens.