Laryngeal Dysfunction: Assessment and Management for the Clinician

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The larynx is one of the most highly innervated organs in humans and serves a number of vitally important, complex, and highly evolved biological functions. On a day-to-day basis, the larynx functions autonomously, addressing several roles including airway protection, swallowing, and phonation. In some situations the larynx appears to adopt a functional state that could be considered maladaptive or "dysfunctional." This laryngeal dysfunction can underpin and account for a number of respiratory symptoms that otherwise appear incongruous with a clinical disease state and/or contribute to the development of symptoms that appear "refractory" to treatment. These include conditions associated with a heightened tendency for inappropriate laryngeal closure (e.g., inducible laryngeal obstruction), voice disturbance, and chronic cough. Recognition of laryngeal dysfunction is important to deliver targeted treatment and failure to recognize the condition can lead to repeated use of inappropriate treatment. Diagnosis is not straightforward, however, and many patients appear to present with symptoms attributable to laryngeal dysfunction, but in whom the diagnosis has been overlooked in clinical work-up for some time. This review provides an overview of the current state of knowledge in the field of laryngeal dysfunction, with a focus on pragmatic clinical assessment and management.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1062-1072
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016