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  • Help! My ENT diagnosed me with vocal chord paralysis and did a tracheostomy on me.

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    Old 07-18-2005, 07:20 PM   #1
    cna61904's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2005
    Location: northern Indiana
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    cna61904 HB User
    Help! My ENT diagnosed me with vocal chord paralysis and did a tracheostomy on me.

    Just over three months ago, I woke up in the morning having difficulty breathing. I've had this happen countless times over the past 8 years (since I was in the marching band in high school). I'd been diagnosed with excercise-induced asthma after several fainting spells in high school, but the albuterol has never seemed to help what feels like the tightening in my throat, not my chest. This time, as with other times, after 2 nebulizer treatments and an adult croupe breathing treatment, the doc referred me to an ENT. The next morning, the ENT did a scope of my throat, said my vocal chords were paralyzed/spasming, and rushed me over to the hospital for an emergency tracheostomy. Now, she still sees periodic spasming in my vocal chords, and says it takes time before they'll be well again, though I haven't felt any noticable improvement, except I can unplug my trach when I'm not getting enough air. I went to my family doc to get a referral to a second opinion ENT, and my family doctor performed a spirometry test that came back "abnormal". She then referred me to a pulmonologist, in addition to the neurologist my ENT referred me to. I visited with the pulmonologist today, and he says it's very possible I could have vocal chord dysfunction syndrome. No doctor (and I've been to countless ENT's, ER's, walk-in clinics, and family physicians) has ever discussed this possibility with me, and from what I've read so far online, it sounds a lot like what I've been going through. What are some key points I would notice with VCD? What kind of treatments are available for it? Is there ever an actual "cure"? Does having a tracheostomy help or hinder VCD? I'd appreciate any and all help long last, maybe, finally, I'll be at a little less of a loss as to what's going on.

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    Old 07-19-2005, 09:59 PM   #2
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    tip2mol's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My ENT diagnosed me with vocal chord paralysis and did a tracheostomy on me.


    I have vocal cord dysfunction. It took 8 months of symptoms before I was diagnosed. I was sent to National Jewish Respiratory and Research Hospital in Denver, CO which is world known for their discovery and treatment of VCD.
    I was initially diagnosed with adult onset asthma shortly after turning 30. I had horrible wheezing and got so short of breath that I felt like I was going to pass out. It took 2 months for the wheezing to stop (being on inhalers which never seemed like they did much good and prednisone). I would continue to have periods where I became horrible short of breath and felt like I just couldn't breathe. It was so nice to finally find out what was causing it.
    Vocal cord dysfunction usually have different triggers in each person. I have found out that a flare up of my severe allergies and sinuses will trigger problems with my vocal cords, being around cigarette smoke or strong perfume- but my biggest trigger is bronchitis. This past November- I had a horrible episode that I honestly thought that I was going to die. It turned out that I had bronchitis (on the x-rays) although my lungs sounded clear. Just 48 hours after starting antibiotics- I was doing much better. With my vocal cord episodes- I get so short of breath that I just can't do anything and I also get chest pain and an increase in my blood pressure due to the distress. There are certain breathing exercises (or shall I say a certain way to breathe) that does help some but for me during the worst episodes did not take care of it. You have to take care of the underlying cause first.
    You can also take valium which helps to relax the cords- and also help you relax, but once again if the underlying cause is not taken care of - none of this measures will completely take care of the problem.
    In extreme cases, because having to be intubated or have a tracheostomy performed, a mixture of helium and oxygen (Called Heliox) can be administered by trained professionals in the emergency room - as a last ditch measure to get the cords to quit spasiming.
    I am thankful that I never had to be intubated or trached. I am sure that was quite scary for you.
    I am not sure where you live, but if you have the opportunity to be seen at the National Jewish Medical Research and Respiratory Hospital- that would be a great step for you. You just need your physician to call and make the referral. It is a wonderful research hospital.

    Hope you get relief quickly

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