Paradoxical vocal fold movement (PVFM) is often misdiagnosed as asthma and tends to have a prolonged time to diagnosis. Study aims were to estimate the time from dyspnea onset to PVFM diagnosis, to estimate associated pre- and postdiagnosis direct and indirect healthcare cost, and to compare the cost of postdiagnosis care among patients who did and did not undergo standard-of-care speech therapy.
Patients diagnosed with PVFM were identified retrospectively. Time from dyspnea symptom onset to diagnosis was measured. Direct costs consisting of office visits, procedures, and prescribed pharmaceuticals before and after diagnosis were calculated. Indirect costs associated with lost wages related to healthcare were also estimated. Costs for patients who initiated versus did not initiate speech therapy and who had successful versus unsuccessful therapy were compared.
Among 110 patients, median time from dyspnea onset to PVFM diagnosis was 33 months (interquartile range [IQR] 5-60). Direct and indirect prediagnosis median costs were $8,625 (IQR $1,687-$35,812) and $736 (IQR $421-$1,579) while first year following dyspnea symptom onset median direct and indirect costs were $1,706 (IQR $427-$7,118) and $315 (IQR $131-$631). Median direct and indirect costs of care in the postdiagnosis year were $2,062 (IQR $760-$11,496) and $841 (IQR $631-$1,261). Pharmaceuticals were predominant cost drivers in all time periods. Of those who completed speech therapy, 85% had breathing symptom improvement while incurring significant cost savings compared to those whose symptoms persisted.
Costs of care leading to diagnosis of PVFM are substantial. More efficient methods of identifying patients with PVFM are essential to reduce prolonged time to diagnosis and associated costs.
N/A Laryngoscope, 2021.

© 2021 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.