Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD)—a narrowing of the vocal chords causing airflow obstruction—can easily be mistaken for an asthma attack though it does not respond to asthma medications, said a press release from Columbus Children’s Hospital, Columbus Ohio.

“Both asthma and VCD are very common, and emergency departments across the country are seeing more and more kids with these kinds of symptoms,” said Karen McCoy, MD, chief of pulmonology at the hospital and a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “While they may appear similar to parents, the conditions act differently and must be treated differently. It is important that parents, coaches and family doctors are aware of the differences.”

According to the study originally published in the July, 2007, issue Pediatric Pulmonology, 12 of the 17 adolescents who entered the ER had difficulty breathing, yet they also had normal oxygen levels. After submitting to a spirometry test, they were found to have evidence of VCD. This led to a change in the therapy for these patients.

“Our study suggests that if more emergency departments made use of the spirometry test, it could cut down on the number of kids who are misdiagnosed and potentially hospitalized,” said Muffy Chrysler BS, RRT, NPS, AE, a co-author on the study and an asthma coordinator in respiratory care at the hospital.

To read the full news release, click here.

To read the abstract from Pediatric Pulmonology, [removed]click here[/removed].