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Laryngospasm: What causes it?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/laryngospasm/AN01215
- With Mayo Clinic emeritus internist
Edward C. Rosenow III, M.D.read biographyclose window
Edward C. Rosenow III, M.D.Edward Rosenow, M.D.
Dr. Edward Rosenow III spent his entire professional career at Mayo Clinic, retiring after 31 years. He was born in Ohio and obtained his M.D. at Ohio State University. Prior to his retirement, he was the Arthur M. and Gladys D. Gray Professor of Medicine.
He has achieved numerous awards and honors, including the Mayo Fellows Hall of Fame of Outstanding Teachers, president of the Mayo staff, president of the American College of Chest Physicians, Distinguished Mayo Clinician Award, an honor lectureship in his name given each year at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, the Mayo Foundation Distinguished Alumnus Award, and most recently the Edward C. Rosenow III, M.D., Professorship in The Art of Medicine by the Bruce Clinton family. He recently received the Mayo Plummer Society Award for Excellence in Medicine.
"It has always been my feeling that the better informed the patient is about his or her body and its functions, the better the patient-physician partnership," he says. "The informed patient is in turn more compliant with the physician's recommendations and better able to make intelligent decisions about health care needs."
He was chairman of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. He is a Master Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Chest Physicians. He considers the Karis ("caring" in Greek) Award from Mayo Clinic as one of his most cherished awards, because he learned over the years that many times the gift of caring and compassion are more effective in healing than the powers of modern medicine. As a result of this award he wrote a book, "The Art of Living … The Art of Medicine," about how medicine should be practiced.
Dr. Rosenow has contributed to more than 170 publications, including over 30 book chapters, two books, two co-authored books and four amici curiae for the U.S. Supreme Court on tobacco legislation.
- GERD: Can certain medications increase severity?
- Laryngospasm: What causes it?
Laryngospasm: What causes it?
What causes laryngospasm?
from Edward C. Rosenow III, M.D.
Laryngospasm (luh-RING-go-spaz-um) is a brief spasm of the vocal cords that temporarily makes it difficult to speak or breathe. Often the cause can't be determined. But laryngospasm can be associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Laryngospasm due to GERD occurs when stomach juices are pushed up your throat and make contact with your vocal cords, causing them to spasm.
The symptoms of laryngospasm are often confused with those of asthma — a lung condition that can make breathing difficult.
Laryngospasm happens suddenly and causes great difficulty breathing through the upper airways in your voice box (larynx). Laryngospasm also makes it difficult to speak. Though laryngospasm can be frightening, your vocal cords eventually relax without causing serious problems.
There's no effective medication to relax the vocal cords more quickly. However, sitting down and trying to relax your whole body during an episode may speed recovery.
If GERD is the cause of laryngospasm, treatment of GERD may reduce the number and severity of episodes.Next question
GERD: Can certain medications increase severity?
- Murry T, et al. The role of voice therapy in the management of paradoxical vocal fold motion, chronic cough and laryngospasm. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. 2010;43:73.
- Balkissoon RC, et al. Disorders of the upper airways. In: Mason RJ, et al. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/192068760-2/0/1288/0.html. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
- Hicks M, et al. Vocal cord dysfunction/paradoxical vocal fold motion. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. 2008;35:81.
- Rosenow EC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 29, 2011.