Inhaled Mannitol as a Laryngeal and Bronchial Provocation Test

Tunn Ren Tay, Ryan Hoy, Amanda L Richards, Paul Paddle, Mark Hew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Timely diagnosis of vocal cord dysfunction (VCD), more recently termed “inducible laryngeal obstruction,” is important because VCD is often misdiagnosed as asthma, resulting in delayed diagnosis and inappropriate treatment. Visualization of paradoxical vocal cord movement on laryngoscopy is the gold standard for diagnosis, but is limited by poor test sensitivity. Provocation tests may improve the diagnosis of VCD, but the diagnostic performance of current tests is less than ideal. Alternative provocation tests are required. This pilot study demonstrates the feasibility of using inhaled mannitol for concurrent investigation of laryngeal and bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Methods Consecutive patients with suspected VCD seen at our institution's asthma clinic underwent flexible laryngoscopy at baseline and following mannitol challenge. VCD was diagnosed on laryngoscopy based on inspiratory adduction, or >50% expiratory adduction of the vocal cords. Bronchial hyperresponsiveness after mannitol challenge was also assessed. We evaluated the interrater agreement of postmannitol laryngoscopy between respiratory specialists and laryngologists. Results Fourteen patients with suspected VCD in the context of asthma evaluation were included in the study. Mannitol provocation demonstrated VCD in three of the seven patients with normal baseline laryngoscopy (42.9%). Only two patients had bronchial hyperresponsiveness. There was substantial interrater agreement between respiratory specialists and laryngologists, kappa = 0.696 (95% confidence interval: 0.324–1) (P = 0.006). Conclusion Inhaled mannitol can be used to induce VCD. It is well tolerated and can evaluate laryngeal and bronchial hyperresponsiveness at the same setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247.e19-247.e23
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Larynx
  • Mannitol
  • Paradoxical vocal fold motion
  • Vocal cord dysfunction

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