Monash University LogoResearchers have developed an innovative technique in order to detect vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) by utilizing high resolution dynamic volume computerized tomography (CT) scanning.

Apparently, VCD occurs in numerous asthmatics causing constant symptoms and imitating severe diseases. The method could possibly provide a simple and non-invasive analysis in order to diagnose laryngeal dysfunction thereby allowing enhanced management of asthma.

This is the foremost study to have described the use of high definition, high speed 320-slice dynamic volume CT in order to diagnose VCD in a group of patients suffering from severe asthma. The study is called as ‘Diagnosis of vocal cord dysfunction in asthma with high resolution dynamic volume computerized tomography of the larynx.’

For the purpose of the study, experts used both direct visualization also known as endoscopy and high resolution 320-slice dynamic volume CT. They then examined and compared laryngeal anatomy and movement in patients with continuing treatment-resistant, severe asthma symptoms and suspected VCD.

Senior author Professor Phillip Bardin from Monash University and Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne stated that, “VCD often masquerades as asthma and reports have suggested that up to 30% of patients with asthma may have co-existent VCD. Previous techniques of diagnosis of VCD are invasive and often unable to provide conclusive evidence to support the diagnosis. With this high resolution CT, we are able to scan entire organs and obtain explicit images of VCD.”

Professor Bardin further added, “Verification of suspected VCD in severe asthmatics has far-reaching implications for clinical management. It will redirect the emphasis of management in these patients to alternative treatment strategies, such as vocal cord retraining, and will have an associated potential benefit of limiting the use of corticosteroids.”

The study findings revealed that 320-slice CT seems to provide clear and accurate images of the larynx. In addition, 320-slice CT could be able to differentiate functions of the vocal cords during the respiratory cycle.

The findings of the study have been published in the journal Respirology.