Episodic Laryngeal Breathing Disorders: Literature Review and Proposal of Preliminary Theoretical Framework

Adrianna C. Shembel, Mary J. Sandage, Katherine Verdolini Abbott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective The purposes of this literature review were (1) to identify and assess frameworks for clinical characterization of episodic laryngeal breathing disorders (ELBD) and their subtypes, (2) to integrate concepts from these frameworks into a novel theoretical paradigm, and (3) to provide a preliminary algorithm to classify clinical features of ELBD for future study of its clinical manifestations and underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. Study Design This is a literature review. Methods Peer-reviewed literature from 1983 to 2015 pertaining to models for ELBD was searched using Pubmed, Ovid, Proquest, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Google Scholar. Theoretical models for ELBD were identified, evaluated, and integrated into a novel comprehensive framework. Consensus across three salient models provided a working definition and inclusionary criteria for ELBD within the new framework. Inconsistencies and discrepancies within the models provided an analytic platform for future research. Results Comparison among three conceptual models—(1) Irritable larynx syndrome, (2) Dichotomous triggers, and (3) Periodic occurrence of laryngeal obstruction—showed that the models uniformly consider ELBD to involve episodic laryngeal obstruction causing dyspnea. The models differed in their description of source of dyspnea, in their inclusion of corollary behaviors, in their inclusion of other laryngeal-based behaviors (eg, cough), and types of triggers. Conclusion The proposed integrated theoretical framework for ELBD provides a preliminary systematic platform for the identification of key clinical feature patterns indicative of ELBD and associated clinical subgroups. This algorithmic paradigm should evolve with better understanding of this spectrum of disorders and its underlying pathophysiological mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125.e7-125.e16
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Episodic laryngeal breathing disorders
  • Irritable larynx syndrome
  • Paradoxical vocal fold motion
  • Periodic occurrence of laryngeal obstruction
  • Vocal cord dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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