Published: 22 December 2022

Authors: Joo H. Koh, M.B.B.S., Laurence E. Ruane, M.Sc., Debra Phyland, Ph.D., Kais Hamza, Ph.D., Risa Fukusho, M.B.B.S., Elizabeth Leahy, R.N., Adriana Avram, R.N., Grace Yap, M.B.B.S., Kenneth K. Lau, M.B.B.S., Martin I. MacDonald, Ph.D., Paul Leong, Ph.D., Malcolm Baxter, M.B.B.S., and Philip G. Bardin, Ph.D.

Source: This abstract has been sourced from NZ Respiratory Research Review Issue 206



    Vocal cord dysfunction/inducible laryngeal obstruction (VCD/ILO) is characterized by breathlessness and often mimics or accompanies severe asthma. The disorder occurs intermittently, and the diagnosis is established by using laryngoscopy. Dynamic computed tomography (CT) imaging of the larynx at low-radiation doses has the potential to provide an alternative method to make the diagnosis of VCD/ILO.


    We report two case series: in series A, laryngoscopy (diagnostic standard) and CT imaging of the larynx were each performed within 1 hour of each other (n=31), and in series B, the procedures were performed on separate days 4 to 6 weeks apart (n=72). Diagnosis of VCD/ILO by laryngoscopy used conventional criteria, and diagnosis by CT imaging was based on vocal cord narrowing in excess of a validated normal threshold. In each series, we evaluated the accuracy of CT imaging of the larynx to establish a diagnosis of VCD/ILO compared with laryngoscopy.


    In series A, the sensitivity of CT imaging of the larynx was 53.8%, and specificity was 88.9%; in series B, the sensitivity of CT imaging of the larynx was 76.2%, and specificity was 93.3%. At a disease prevalence of 30% (which was known to be the case in our clinic), the positive predictive value was 67.5% in series A and 83% in series B. Negative predictive values were 81.8% and 90.1% in series A and B, respectively, and false-positive rates were 11.1% and 6.7%.


    When the population prevalence was assumed to be 30%, low-dose CT imaging of the larynx detected VCD/ILO with negative predictive values greater than 80% in both series settings and agreed with each other within 9 percentage points. Positive predictive values for laryngeal CT imaging varied substantially between the settings of the two case series. (Supported by Monash Lung and Sleep Institute and Grant APP ID 1198362 and others.)

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