Postoperative Respiratory Distress in the PACU: A Unique Differential Diagnosis

  • Brittany Grovey
  • Jonathan L. Benumof


Postoperative respiratory distress is a condition that most anesthesiologists are very familiar with treating. In this case, we present a case of postoperative respiratory distress due to anxiety-induced paradoxical vocal cord dysfunction. Here, we review the pathophysiology of paradoxical vocal cord dysfunction and discuss other etiologies of postoperative respiratory distress that may assist the anesthesiologist in distinguishing between, and expanding upon, the differential diagnoses for this common postoperative event.


Paradoxical vocal cord dysfunction Vocal cord dysfunction Stridor Laryngospasm Postoperative respiratory distress 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brittany Grovey
    • 1
  • Jonathan L. Benumof
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of California, UCSD Medical Center, UCSD School of MedicineSan DiegoUSA

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