JOURNAL ARTICLE

Irritant vocal cord dysfunction at first misdiagnosed as reactive airway dysfunction syndrome

Eugenia Galdi, Luca Perfetti, Fabio Pagella, Giulia Bertino, Massimo Ferrari, Gianna Moscato
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health 2005, 31 (3): 224-6
15999575

OBJECTIVES: This report describes a case of vocal cord dysfunction at first misdiagnosed as reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS).

METHODS: A woman developed recurrent episodes of cough, dyspnea, and wheezing unresponsive to asthma therapy after irritant exposure to glutaraldehyde. Direct laryngoscopy was performed immediately after the induction of symptoms.

RESULTS: Laryngoscopy showed a paradoxical adduction of the vocal cord on inspiration. Vocal cord dysfunction was diagnosed.

CONCLUSIONS: A case of vocal cord dysfunction occurred after exposure to glutaraldhyde in a person with a history highly suggestive of RADS. Vocal cord dysfunction should always be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients with acute respiratory symptoms after exposure to irritants and with asthma-like symptoms that fail to respond to conventional asthma therapy.

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