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Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD)


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Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) occurs when your vocal cords (voice box) don’t open correctly. VCD is also known as paradoxical vocal fold movement (PVFM). Symptoms of VCD include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in throat
  • Hoarse voice
  • Voice changes

It’s important to note that VCD has similar triggers and symptoms as asthma, but the two conditions have different causes and treatments. Breathing in lung irritants, exercising, a cold or viral infection, or GERD can trigger symptoms of VCD.


Physical Exam
Your ENT doctor will complete a thorough physical exam and ask you questions to understand your history of breathing difficulties and voice changes.

This breathing test measures airflow and can help your doctor diagnose your VCD.

During this procedure, your ENT doctor uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached to one end to closely examine your vocal cords for any abnormalities.


Speech Therapy
Your ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor may recommend that you undergo speech therapy to help manage your VCD and reduce symptoms. In speech therapy, you will learn and practice techniques and exercises that will help improve your ability to speak and be understood.

Deep Breathing Techniques
Your ENT doctor may recommend that you learn and practice certain deep breathing techniques to help manage your VCD.

If your VCD is caused by another condition – such as GERD – your ENT specialist may prescribe medication to help treat that condition.

Why Choose UHealth?

Ranked No. 28 in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. The ranking reflects the team’s dedication to excellence in research patient care and outcomes. Surgeons, audiologists, biomedical engineers, speech pathologists, researchers, and psychologists collaborate with many research programs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to deliver the best possible multidisciplinary care to pediatric and adult ear, nose, and throat patients.

Customized treatment from a multidisciplinary team. We work with you to understand your condition and your vocal goals so we can craft a customized treatment plan that makes the most sense for you. When therapy is needed, we develop a personalized therapy program based on your specific situation and tailored to your needs and goals. Our multidisciplinary team works alongside you for the long term to ensure that you receive comprehensive treatment and get your voice back.

World-class care in an academic health system. We are recognized throughout South Florida and the world as a leader in treating conditions and disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. Backed by one of the nation’s top universities, our team uses the latest technologies and research-driven expertise to provide you with superior, personalized care and the best outcomes.

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