Spasmodic Dysphonia: Etiology and Management The characteristic “strained and strangled” voice of adductor spasmodic dysphonia (ADSD) is easily recognized by those with clinical experience in voice disorders. However, diagnosis is not always easy, because not all patients have the “classic” voice disturbance. In patients with ADSD, voice is affected not only by intermittent spasmodic ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2005
Spasmodic Dysphonia: Etiology and Management
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gayle Woodson, MD
    Department of Surgery-Otolaryngology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2005
Spasmodic Dysphonia: Etiology and Management
SIG 3 Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders, March 2005, Vol. 15, 15-19. doi:10.1044/vvd15.1.15
SIG 3 Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders, March 2005, Vol. 15, 15-19. doi:10.1044/vvd15.1.15
The characteristic “strained and strangled” voice of adductor spasmodic dysphonia (ADSD) is easily recognized by those with clinical experience in voice disorders. However, diagnosis is not always easy, because not all patients have the “classic” voice disturbance. In patients with ADSD, voice is affected not only by intermittent spasmodic closure of the larynx, but also by the various compensatory strategies that patients adopt. Additionally, spasmodic dysphonia may also involve spasmodic opening of the larynx (abductor spasmodic dysphonia). This results in breathy voice breaks, rather than stoppages. Abductor spasms may occur alone or with adductor spasm in a mixed dysphonia. Further, similar sounding voice problems may be encountered in a variety of other dysphonias, including neurologic, psychogenic, and functional etiologies (Zwirner, Murry, & Woodson, 1991). Finally, spasmodic dysphonia is not a single disease, but a specific neurologic dysfunction that can probably result from several causes and may co-exist with vocal tremor. There is currently no “cure” for spasmodic dysphonia, but there are treatments that provide symptomatic improvement and provide some clues as to the pathophysiology of the problem.
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