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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1991 May;179(5):295-8.

Childhood sexual abuse in patients with paradoxical vocal cord dysfunction.

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Department of Medicine, National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Denver, Colorado 80206.


We present three prototypical cases of paradoxical vocal cord dysfunction. The symptoms of this functional disorder mimic those of bronchial asthma attacks. These patients typically have experienced extensive medical intervention including intubation and corticosteroid use. We identify a history of childhood sexual abuse as an important factor contributing to the development of this psychosomatic disorder. We discuss the severity of psychopathology in patients with paradoxical vocal cord dysfunction and how this physical symptom may have developed to express psychological difficulties.

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