Airway Disorders

Contact Information

Voice and Swallow Clinic, UW Hospital
(608) 263-6190


Pediatric Voice and Swallow Clinic, American Family Children's Hospital
(608) 265-7760


Voice Clinic, 1 S. Park

(608) 287-2500


In the News

Teen Overcomes Breathing Disorder to Continue Performing (

UW Health physicians and support staff examine and treat a wide range of disorders of the airway.
Airway disorders typically assessed and treated in our clinics include:
  • Paradoxical Vocal Fold Dysfunction (PVFD)
    PVFD is closing of the vocal folds when they should be open for breathing. It can be present in isolation or with asthma. Patients learn to control vocal folds through visual feedback and breathing exercises. PVFD is typically evaluated in conjunction with an allergist or pulmonologist, a psychiatrist and an otolaryngologist.
  • Subglottic Stenosis
    Subglottic stenosis is a narrowing of the airway below the vocal folds. It is assessed and treated in conjunction with an otolaryngologist.
  • Laryngomalacia
    Laryngomalacia is collapsing of the laryngeal structures while breathing and usually occurs in infants. It is assessed and treated in conjunction with an otolaryngologist.



A typical evaluation of the laryngeal airway includes:

  • Thorough review of the concern and any related medical, surgical, lifestyle, occupational or emotional factors
  • Flexible fiberoptic nasopharyngoscopy to view the vocal folds during breathing. If the breathing difficulty occurs only with exercise, a separate study of the vocal folds might be scheduled in the pulmonary function laboratory
  • If paradoxical vocal fold dysfunction is diagnosed, the evaluation will include initial teaching of management strategies