My 15 year old has been diagnosed with Vocal Chord Dysfunction. It affects her mostly while she has been exercising... she ended up quitting her basketball team because of it. She has had speech therapy, and has learned about how to make the restrictive feeling go away. The problem that we can not find an answer for happens 20 minutes after she is done exercising... she will start fainting... it started out as 4 or 5 fainting episodes in 30 minutes that lasted 10-20 seconds each time. It has progressed to 15-20 episodes of fainting that last 20-35 seconds in a 30-45 minute time span. This stops only after an ER trip, and ativan that makes her a rag doll. She then needs 3 or 4 days to recover, as it takes everything out of her. The amount of fainting seems to be directly related to how hard she exercises... The harder she plays the more trouble with fainting she has. It only seems to happen when she has to relieve the VCD restriction.
We have been through many things: Asthma misdiagnosis (plus all the meds), allergy testing, methacholine test, stress test, echocardiogram, etc. (heart is very healthy), we go to a neurologist next week. One doctor suggested just get a good pshychologist.....
The speech therapy doesn't seem to be as effective as it first was. Thus she quit playing basketball... to the dismay of herself and doctors... to the relief of the coaches who are scared silly watching her go though this fainting business. She does exercise on the treadmill to stay in shape. She has also had to deal with the VCD while playing clarinet, singing and when exposed to smoke from a bon fire or scents from areas in store where perfumes etc. are sold, but it doens't happen all the time in those situations like it does with sports.
Any suggestions or ideas on anything else we should be looking for would be greatly appreciated.
We have definitely thought of that, although, the fainting episodes occur when she has the VCD issues... If she exercises, and makes it through without the VCD acting up, she doesn't have issues with the fainting. Eventhough we are now handling the fainting as a separate issue, it all seems to be tied together some how.
We have also ruled out hyperventilation as a cause of the fainting. She has very good control of her breathing techniques, at least according to the speech therapist and physical therapist who worked with her.
The speech therapist also mentioned there are usally underlying causes of stress and anxiety that go along with VCD, and he says he is good and figuring them out, but stated he could not find any in her. But, she does have the type A, high achieving, competitive personality that fits someone who does get this sort of condition. We have been told there is a chance by the time she is 18 it may just all go away, and she will not have problems anymore... but then, her high school sports opportunities will be gone as well. And she is one of those kids who loves to be involved in sports. She considers them one of her stress relievers.... She was more bummed by having to quit basketball.. but that did not trigger any episodes.... We told her we will keep looking and trying to get it figured out... but, I am also concerned that it has taken on a life of it's own...
New developments... The doctors are starting to treat the events as two separate things... More Speech threapy has been suggested to help tweek the techniques she has already learned... we meet with him next week. There is a theory the fainting is from pain.... But, we still need to work on it... The fainting happens when a second wave of vocal chord tightning hits. We seem to have some diligent doctors working on it, anyway.. they really want to help improve her quality of life.