[Spirometry patterns in vocal cord dysfunction]

V Sanz Santiago, A López Neyra, E Almería Gil, J R Villa Asensi
Anales de Pediatría: Publicación Oficial de la Asociación Española de Pediatría (A.E.P.) 2013, 78 (3): 173-7

INTRODUCTION: Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is a rare disease characterized by a paradoxical closure of the vocal cords, usually in inspiration, that causes dyspnea and stridor. The spirometry pattern that is more often described is a plateau in the inspiratory curve, but it can be also found in the expiratory loop The aim of this study was to evaluate the most common spirometry characteristics of patients with VCD and, secondarily, to describe the clinical and demographic characteristics and the treatment of patients with a definitive diagnosis of this disease.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A retrospective study was made of cases of VCD between 2000 and 2010. Diagnosis was considered definitive when a paradoxical closure of the vocal cords became clear on laryngoscopy. Exercise challenge on a treadmill was performed to produce symptoms. Demographic and clinical data were collected, and flow-volume curves were studied.

RESULTS: Of 36 suspected cases, VCD was confirmed in 11 (30.5%). The mean age was 13.5 years, 10 were female. Possible triggers were found in 5 patients. Six patients had a previous history of asthma. All patients had a plateau in the inspiratory curve, and 9 (81%) of them also in the expiratory loop. Only 4 patients had a ratio between maximum inspiratory and expiratory flows at 50% of forced vital capacity (MEF50%/MIF50%) > 2.2.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the most frequent spirometry pattern in VCD is a plateau in the inspiratory curve, a significant percentage of patients also have a plateau in the expiratory curve. This could invalidate the MEF50%/MIF50% ratio for the diagnosis of VCD.

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