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Spasmodic laryngeal dyspnea: a rare manifestation of laryngeal dystonia

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We describe clinical experiences in the management of three patients with laryngopharyngeal dystonia causing severe breathing problems. In contrast to spasmodic dysphonia, which presents with action-induced involuntary spasms of laryngeal muscles during speaking, all three patients showed laryngopharyngeal spasms primarily during respiration. In analogy to spasmodic dysphonia we propose the term spasmodic laryngeal dyspnea for this rare condition. Localized unilateral botulinum toxin injected into the thyroarytenoid muscle and /or ventricular folds reduced the quantity and quality of spasms and led to a pronounced improvement of breathing problems.

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Correspondence to P. Zwirner.

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Zwirner, P., Dressler, D. & Kruse, E. Spasmodic laryngeal dyspnea: a rare manifestation of laryngeal dystonia. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 254, 242–245 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00874096

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Key words

  • Laryngopharyngeal dystonia
  • Laryngeal dyspnea
  • Spasmodic dysphonia
  • Botulinum toxin