September 23, 2014
1 min read

Vocal cord dysfunction, asthma shared similar symptoms

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Patients with vocal cord dysfunction and asthma were affected by common risk factors and exhibited similar symptoms, according to recent study results.

“Vocal fold motion disorder, also known as vocal cord dysfunction (VCD), is a disorder caused by episodic unintentional paradoxical adduction of the vocal cords,” German researchers reported. “The symptoms are similar to those of asthma and patients with VCD are often misdiagnosed.”

Researchers in 2010 contacted 2,756 participants from a 2002-2004 survey in rural Germany that examined potential adverse effects of environmental emission exposure to confined animal feeding operations on asthma and allergies. There were 1,332 participants who completed surveys that classified their asthma and VCD-like symptoms.

Four percent of participants reported VCD-like symptoms; 8% had asthma symptoms; and 2% exhibited VCD-like and asthma symptoms.

Asthma was associated with male sex (OR=1.83; 95% CI, 1.2-2.78), smoking (OR=1.71; 95% CI, 1.07-2.71), parental allergies (OR=1.6; 95% CI, 1.06-2.43), low ratio of force expiration in 1 second to force vital capacity (quartile 1 vs. 3, OR=2.24; 95% CI, 1.16-4.33; quartile 1 vs. 4, OR=2.46; 95% CI, 1.29-4.7) and low score for Short Form-12 (SF12) physical domain (quartile 1 vs. 4, OR=2.8; 95% CI, 1.5-5.25).

VCD-like symptoms showed associations with a low score for SF12 physical domain (quartile 1 vs. 3, OR=3.13; 95% CI, 1.21-8.13; quartile 1 vs. 4, OR=4.51; 95% CI, 1.76-11.59) and parental allergies (OR=1.95; 95% CI, 1.09-3.48).

Smoking (OR=5.23; 95% CI, 1.85-14.77) and low SF12 physical domain score (quartile 1 vs. 3, OR=11.38; 95% CI, 1.41-92.03; quartile 1 vs. 4, OR=18.54; 95%, CI, 2.41-142.82) were associated with participants who had asthma and VCD-like symptoms.

“A significant portion of the general population with respiratory symptoms may have VCD-like symptoms, resulting in poor quality of life in those affected,” the researchers concluded. “This study provides valuable first insights into the prevalence and risk factors of VCD-like symptoms and might serve as a pilot for the future.”


Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.