Vocal Cord Paralysis Quiz

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Reviewed By:

Eric A. Gantwerker, MD, MMSC

Eric A. Gantwerker, MD, MMSC (Ear, nose, throat (ENT))

Pediatric Otolaryngologist at Northwell Health and Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. He holds a Master of Medical Science (MMSc) in Medical Education with a special focus on educational technology, educational research, and game-based learning from Harvard Medical School and a Master of Science in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University. He has a special interest in faculty development and has been a speaker or faculty at hundreds of local, national, and international courses and conferences. He is also an active blogger and podcaster for several organizations, including the Harvard Macy Institute (HMI), Harvard Medical School CME Online, and BackTable Innovations. He has been featured in the news and print for media outlets such as USA Today, Businesswire, The Washington Post, Nature Medicine, Fox News, and KevinMD. He was also the Vice President, Medical Director of a medical video game company, Level Ex from 2018 to 2023 that utilized game technology and psychology to create interactive experiences for healthcare professionals. | He is recognized as an expert on the implementation of educational technologies and gaming with a foundation in educational theory for health professions education. He was honored to be inducted as an Associate Member of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Academy of Master Surgeon Educators and as an Associate Fellow of the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE).

Rohini R, MD

Rohini R, MD (Ear, nose, throat (ENT))

Dr. Rohini R is an ENT, Head and Neck Surgeon, with a Fellowship in Advanced Endoscopic Sinus and Skull Base Surgery and a Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine and Lasers. Besides clinical practice and working with Ubie, she is actively training and mentoring medical students and residents. She has functioned in various work settings - teaching hospitals, private and free health centers, and worked with patients from all socioeconomic backgrounds due to her experience in free hospitals and volunteering in India and Singapore.

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People with similar symptoms also use Ubie's symptom checker to find possible causes

  • Noisy breathing

  • Whistling when I breathe

  • Respiratory wheeze

  • Loud breathing

  • Stridor

  • There's a sound when I breathe

  • Loud noise when I breathe

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Learn more about Vocal Cord Paralysis

Content updated on Jan 19, 2024

What is vocal cord paralysis?

A condition in which the nerves that supply the vocal cords are damaged, causing poor movement (paresis) or complete absence of movement (paralysis). If presenting in infancy, it can be either due to conditions affecting the brain or brainstem where the nerves exit the skull or due to surgery on the heart or lesions in the chest. Surgery on the neck, especially the thyroid gland, can also damage the nerves. Viral infections and intubation can also cause injury to the vocal folds or nerves.

Symptoms of vocal cord paralysis

  • Noisy breathing; e.g. wheezing, rattling

  • Voice is softer than usual

  • Have been under general anesthesia for a surgery within the last 6 months

  • Feeling breathless

  • Hoarse voice

  • Choking while eating

  • Cough

  • Difficulty swallowing food or water

Questions your doctor may ask to check for vocal cord paralysis

Your doctor may ask these questions to diagnose vocal cord paralysis

  • Is your breathing noisy, like wheezing or rattling?

  • Is your voice quiet, making it difficult to speak loudly?

  • Have you had general anesthesia in the last 6 months?

  • Are you having difficulty breathing?

  • Is your voice hoarse?

Treatment for vocal cord paralysis

This condition can sometimes be treated with voice therapy and training or just time. However, in some cases, surgery or injections may be needed. If both vocal cords are paralyzed, there can be difficulty breathing, and emergency medical care might be needed.

View the symptoms of Vocal Cord Paralysis

References

  • Grundfast KM, Harley E. Vocal cord paralysis. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 1989 Jun;22(3):569-97. PMID: 2657584.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2657584/

  • Hamdan AL, Moukarbel RV, Farhat F, Obeid M. Vocal cord paralysis after open-heart surgery. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2002 Apr;21(4):671-4. doi: 10.1016/s1010-7940(02)00019-2. PMID: 11932166.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11932166/

  • Chen EY, Inglis AF Jr. Bilateral vocal cord paralysis in children. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2008 Oct;41(5):889-901, viii. doi: 10.1016/j.otc.2008.04.003. PMID: 18775340.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18775340/

User testimonials

Reviewed By:

Eric A. Gantwerker, MD, MMSC

Eric A. Gantwerker, MD, MMSC (Ear, nose, throat (ENT))

Pediatric Otolaryngologist at Northwell Health and Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. He holds a Master of Medical Science (MMSc) in Medical Education with a special focus on educational technology, educational research, and game-based learning from Harvard Medical School and a Master of Science in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University. He has a special interest in faculty development and has been a speaker or faculty at hundreds of local, national, and international courses and conferences. He is also an active blogger and podcaster for several organizations, including the Harvard Macy Institute (HMI), Harvard Medical School CME Online, and BackTable Innovations. He has been featured in the news and print for media outlets such as USA Today, Businesswire, The Washington Post, Nature Medicine, Fox News, and KevinMD. He was also the Vice President, Medical Director of a medical video game company, Level Ex from 2018 to 2023 that utilized game technology and psychology to create interactive experiences for healthcare professionals. | He is recognized as an expert on the implementation of educational technologies and gaming with a foundation in educational theory for health professions education. He was honored to be inducted as an Associate Member of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Academy of Master Surgeon Educators and as an Associate Fellow of the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE).

Rohini R, MD

Rohini R, MD (Ear, nose, throat (ENT))

Dr. Rohini R is an ENT, Head and Neck Surgeon, with a Fellowship in Advanced Endoscopic Sinus and Skull Base Surgery and a Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine and Lasers. Besides clinical practice and working with Ubie, she is actively training and mentoring medical students and residents. She has functioned in various work settings - teaching hospitals, private and free health centers, and worked with patients from all socioeconomic backgrounds due to her experience in free hospitals and volunteering in India and Singapore.

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