Donate to Vocal Cord Paralysis Research, Patient Care and Education

Vocal cord paralysis can greatly impact your ability to breathe and speak. When the nerve impulses in your voice box are disrupted, the muscles become paralyzed. Vocal cords not only help us speak and breath, but they also serve to protect the airway by preventing food, drink and foreign particles from entering. Viral infections, surgery and certain cancers can greatly impact the fragile vocal cords. More than 33 percent of those diagnosed with vocal cord paralysis are women. More often than not, only one of your two vocal cords are impacted with paralysis. Rarely are both vocal cords impacted. Should this occur, the condition must be taken seriously.

By making a contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will help specialists at Northwestern Medicine to make stride in their efforts to gain new insights into the development, presentation and treatment of vocal cord paralysis.

Specialists at Northwestern Medicine have identified multiple symptoms of vocal cord paralysis that can impact swallowing, breathing and speaking. The vocal cord can either be damaged in such a way that it remains closed or stays open. Symptoms can include a change in voice and volume, hoarseness or noisy breathing, weak coughs and frequent throat clearing. Should you experience any of these symptoms alone, it does not necessarily mean that your vocal cords are impaired or paralyzed, but it is recommended that you see a specialist for a complete examination.

While physicians are adept at diagnosing vocal cord paralysis, in more than half the cases, the cause is indeterminable. There are a large number of nerves stemming from the vocal cords leading to various parts of the body. Damage to any one of these nerves can impact the vocal cords. Experts at Northwestern Medicine have identified several potential causes for vocal cord paralysis and they include surgeries and injuries to the head, neck or chest, tumors, lung or thyroid cancer as well as breathing tube injury and potential viral infections. Physicians are able to confirm the presence of vocal paralysis through a host of diagnostic tools. These include blood tests, EMGs, CT scans and MRI scans. Fortunately, some cases of vocal cord paralysis will heal themselves over time. Otherwise, voice therapy, phonosurgery and tracheostomies are treatment options.

Vocal Cord Paralysis Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Please consider making a gift to Northwestern Memorial Foundation to advance research, clinical trials and patient care in the area of vocal cord paralysis. Northwestern Medicine is committed to providing the highest level of care to every patient, and, through your generosity, you can help us realize that important mission.

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