Exploring Mental Health in a Pediatric Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion Sample Using Patient-Reported Outcomes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery




anxiety; depression; paradoxical motion; pediatric; vocal fold


OBJECTIVE: Paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM) is characterized by inappropriate adduction of vocal folds during inspiration causing dyspnea. While anxiety is suspected to be a predisposing factor, incidence has been understudied. STUDY DESIGNS: Retrospective review. SETTING: Multidisciplinary PVFM hospital clinic. METHODS: We used patient-reported outcome measures to examine anxiety and depression in consecutive patients aged 10 to 17 years using Pediatric SFv1.1 Anxiety 8b and Level 2-Depression inventories (parents completed proxy forms). T-scores were classified as normal (none to slight <55) or elevated (mild 55-59.9, moderate 60-69.9, severe >70). RESULTS: Twenty-three pediatric patients and 20 parents completed surveys. Mean age was 13.74 years. For anxiety, 69.6% of patients and 40% of parents identified elevated levels. For depression, 30.4% of patients and 15% of parents identified elevated levels. Therapy need for the sample was 65.2% (34.8% active in services and 30.4% referred). Child anxiety scores were significantly higher in the therapy need group, U = 17, P = .004. CONCLUSION: This study of adolescents with PVFM confirmed elevated anxiety and depression scores in 2/3 of the participants. Anxiety likely precedes diagnosis and is a predisposing factor. Referral for individualized intervention targeting anxiety and depression is indicated.