Upper Airway Disorders

Upper airway disorders can cause painful inflammation that makes it difficult to breath. These types of disorders can sometimes be confused for asthma. Our expert team evaluates, counsels and treats a full range of upper airway disorders to help you breathe easier.

Overview and Symptoms

Symptoms of an upper airway disorder can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chronic cough
  • Irritable larynx
  • Bilateral vocal fold paralysis
  • Paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM) or Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD)


If you are diagnosed with an airway disorder, you will meet with a speech pathologist to learn relaxation, exercise and breathing techniques to help manage your symptoms. Pre-surgical counseling is provided when appropriate.

Diagnostic and treatment options include:

  • Video fluoroscopy, also known as a video swallow study
  • Voice evaluation
  • A laryngeal evaluation using endoscopy: a type of test where a scope is passed into the throat to view the vocal cords

Voice, Speech and Swallowing Therapy

The Voice, Speech and Swallowing Therapy experts at BIDMC are nationally recognized leaders, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of voice, airway, speech and swallowing conditions.

Learn More