Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD) Clinic at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Some children who have episodes of breathing problems have VCD. This occurs when the vocal cords close when breathing in, instead of opening.

This closing partially blocks the airway.

These uncontrolled movements are short-term. Exercise, stress, and other irritants can be triggers.

Although VCD isn't a long-term condition, it can have serious impacts on children's lives. It can limit their enjoyment of sports and social events.

At UPMC Children's Hospital, we offer a unique center to diagnose and treat children who have VCD.

Our Vocal Cord Dysfunction Center helps kids avoid and control VCD symptoms so their diagnosis no longer holds them back.

Contact the Vocal Cord Dysfunction Center

To learn more or book an appointment for your child's VCD, call 412-692-9877.

Children's VCD Center Services

VCD is a rare condition that requires the knowledge of many experts.

At the VCD Center, we offer:

  • Advanced, same-day laryngoscopy and lung function tests to diagnose VCD. This reduces the number of office visits your child needs and gets them on the path to success as fast as possible.
  • Complete treatment plans tailored to your child's health needs and VCD triggers. We also manage other conditions that can worsen VCD.
  • A special type of speech therapy that's effective for treating VCD. Our speech therapists coach children in breathing exercises to control their symptoms.

Sometimes, our tests find another airway problem (such as asthma, vocal cord paralysis, or voice box issue). In this case, we will direct you to the best doctor for a consult — often on the same day.

Why Choose UPMC Children's for Your Child's VCD?

At the VCD Center:

  • Your child will see all the experts they need, in one place, on the same day.
  • We only treat children and teens. We know their bodies, as well as their developmental and cognitive needs.
  • Our speech therapists use age-appropriate techniques to empower children to manage their VCD.

Children and their caregivers travel from across Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland to access our center.

Health Insurance We Accept

As a major referral hospital, UPMC Children's accepts most health plans.

We suggest you contact your insurer before your visit to make sure they'll cover our services. We're also happy to give them any information they need.

Referral Requirements

Although your health insurance may not require a specialist referral, a referral order from a provider referring your child to the Vocal Cord Dysfunction Clinic is required.

We receive referrals from across Pennsylvania, as well as Maryland, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia. Before scheduling, verify with your insurer and referring provider whether your plan is in-network.

Prior authorization may be required from your health insurance depending on your health plan's network and the care your child needs. Please ensure all referrals and prior authorizations are secured prior to your visit. This will ensure the services we provide will be covered by your health insurance.