Possible Vocal Cord Dysfunction?

Updated on January 08, 2013
T.M. asks from Trumbull, CT
5 answers

My 8 yr. old daughter started complaining of breathing difficulties and shortness of breath about a year an a half ago. She is bothered by it all day long, but gets worse when she's active in gym, at recess, or any other physical activity.Most of the time, she just stops the activity for a little while and then continues when she's feeling better. I have taken her to a cardiologist, an ENT, an allergist, a pulmonologist (exercise induced asthma has been ruled out) . . . they told me that acid reflux could be causing the breathing difficulty symptoms, but she just had an endoscopy and the results were negative for reflux. It's been very frustrating. I have an appointment again with her allergist on Monday for further testing, but he at this point doesn't think it's asthma. Both the allergist and pulmonologist have mentioned the possibility of Vocal Cord Dysfunction, which in doing some research can be misdiagnosed as asthma and can cause breathing difficulties. I've read that it should be suspected if Asthma treatment has failed, which it has in my daughter's case. She's been on several inhalers, nose sprays and allergy medication, which haven't helped with her symptoms.

Have any of your children been diagnosed with Vocal Cord Dysfuction or VCD? I'm planning on making another appointment with her ENT to have her checked for this. Any info or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your help.

T. M.

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answers from Seattle on

Can't help you w/ vocal chord dysfunction

One more spoon in the soup... Has she seen a cardiologist? That's usually the next stop on the breathing train... Since it doesn't matter how well the lungs are functioning when the heart can't get the blood where it needs to go. (From arrhythmias, to floppy valves, to decreased flow, and a bunch o' other things.)!


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answers from Louisville on

An ent can diagnose vocal cord dysfunction with a simple scope in the office. It can be treated & controlled through breathing exercises. It's very common in type A girls, usually older than 8, but can happen that young.

Make another ent appointment and ask him to scope her. They'll numb her nose & throat so it won't hurt bit it will be uncomfortable. It takes less than 5 minutes, usually.


answers from Redding on

Does she actually have the feeling of not being able to breathe or is more like her throat is closing and it's hard to swallow?
My cousin and I both share the latter which is really crazy as it comes and goes for no reason that we've ever been able to figure out.
When I'm in throat close mode I can't swallow a pill and I feel nervous until it passes. I can swallow food tho without incident.
It's "stress" a doc told me once. I can go a year without an episode and some years I have 3 or 4 episodes that last a day at a time or even few weeks at a time. They have never SEEN anything wrong with my throat when it happens.
So, it may not be obstructing her breathing but the stress of feeling the lump in her throat might be stressing her out to the point where a panic attack makes her think she cant breathe. So, I guess it's psychosomatic.
This is my offering :)


answers from Washington DC on

has she been tested for COPD or cystic fibrosis?

I personally haven't heard of VCD so I have no knowledge or experience to pass on to you.

It would bother me that she's having breathing problems and no one can figure out the problem. I'm sooo glad to hear that you are not giving up!! You go girl!!! Find the answers!!



answers from Honolulu on

Did the Cardiologist find anything?
My Grandpa had those symptoms and he had heart problems.

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