Voice and Upper Airway Symptoms in People With Chronic Cough and Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement

Anne E. Vertigan, Deborah G. Theodoros, Peter G. Gibson, Alison L. Winkworth

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51 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic cough (CC) and paradoxical vocal fold movement (PVFM) share several common features; however, there has been no systematic comparison of these two conditions. The aims of this study were to contrast and compare the symptom profiles of CC and PVFM, to clarify the relationship between the two conditions, and to explore how symptom characteristics could be used to design an individualized treatment program. Participants included 55 people with a combination of PVFM and CC that was refractory to medical treatment, 8 people with PVFM alone, 56 people with CC alone, 25 people with voice disorders, and 27 normal controls. Symptoms and descriptive features of CC, PVFM, and voice disorders were assessed via structured case history interview, symptom frequency, and severity ratings, ratings of activity limitation, and anxiety/depression ratings. Results indicated consistent overlap in the symptom profile between people with CC and those presenting with a combination of CC and PVFM. Participants with PVFM without cough and those with voice disorders overlapped with the participants with CC on some dimensions; however, there were still some significant differences between them. These data suggest that CC and PVFM are related and manifestations of a common underlying condition but that voice disorders are a discrete entity. Most participants had normal ratings on screening for anxiety and depression. Results indicated that there were no consistent psychiatric symptoms in any of the groups studied, and they do not support the label of psychogenic cough for CC that is refractory to medical treatment. Characteristics of CC such as nature and timing of the cough provide important information for developing behavioral treatment programs for individual patients who have exhausted medical options. A template has been provided that is a practical method of designing an integrated behavioral treatment program based on those individual patient characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-383
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


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