I have been through many tests and asthma (methacholine) & heart are not issues. I am diagnosed with costochondritis (inflamation of rib cage/sternum area) and have had problems with my breathing. There are days where i could feel like my chest is tight which i could attribute my breathing to that, but there still are times where it feels like my thoat is tight or something and i am not getting good air. My pulminologist did question VCD and said i should get checked out my an ENT. I went to some random one who said my vocal chords seemed to function normally and he took a cat scan of my sinuses. Is that how it is diagnosed. He did not feel it was VCD. If not, what could it be. I've been through an endoscopy for acid reflux and said i have "mild" acid reflux (they also used a BRAVO - microchip in thoat to measure acid), so I don't think it could be that. Any thoughts?
What kind of testing did the ENT do to check for vocal cord dysfunction?
I have vocal cord dyfunction and for a 2 month period (2 years ago)- it was mistakingly diagnosed as asthma. It took 2 months for me to stop chronically wheezing but then I suffered some different symptoms. The methacholine challenge was negative- but some of my pulmonary functions testing was off.
I had the pulmonary functions test done when I was actively having problems breathing. I would have periods where I just couldn't breathe well at all and it felt as if someone was literally crushing my esophagus. I have now found out some of my vocal cord triggers and have only had one really bad spell since Summer of 2003. One of my biggest triggers is bronchitis. If I am not aggressively treated, then I suffer a horrible time with the vocal cords. Being around strong perfumes or smoke is also a trigger for my vocal cords. I have to keep my sinus and allergy problems under control also.
The test to verify if you have vocal cord dyfunction is a larynoscopy. They put a small scope down your nose to the point that they can visualize the vocal cords. Of course sometimes it doesn't show up if the cords aren't reactive at that time. There are some breathing exercises that help to release the cords when they become irritated and if this doesn't work- a low dose of valium helps to relax them also. Finally if they are not reacting to that- then it is time to go to the ER. There- they can give IV valium and also give a breathing treatment with Heliox (which is a mixture of helium and oxygen). I have a note from the facility that diagnosed me- that lists the treatment for vocal cord dysfunction and I am to take that to the ER if I ever have to go for that reason. ER physicians are not quick to pick up on VCD- and that is where I was treated twice for uncontrolled asthma- with almost no relief.
The ENT did the CT scan because he probably suspects sino-bronchial syndrome. This is when a sinus infection drips into your chest, constricting the bronchial tubes and causes chest tightness and shortness of breath.
I was diagnosed with this about 2 years ago. I have terrible allergies and had developed asthma like symptoms. But all my asthma tests were normal. Then my primary doctor told me I had anxiety. When I insisted it wasn't anxiety he threw out the VCD diagnosis. Then I went to back to my allergist who suspected sino-bronchial syndrome and was able to order the CT scan before my first visit with the ENT. I ended up needing sinus surgery. After the surgery all the breathing problems disappeared.
I hope this information helps.
Last edited by sneezydiva; 01-27-2005 at 12:14 AM.