A vocal fold hemorrhage is blood in the vocal fold, which inhibits the vocal fold’s ability to vibrate normally. The bleeding may be caused by vocal overuse, abuse, or simple tasks such as coughing with an upper respiratory tract infection. A vocal fold hemorrhage is often seen in singers who use their voice extensively. It can occur acutely and greatly affect the normal tonal quality of a patient’s voice. The diagnosis is made by taking a complete history and carefully examining the vocal cords either by flexible laryngoscopy (a flexible camera placed through the nose) or a videostroboscopy (a flexible or rigid exam of the vocal cords which allows for examination of the vocal fold mucosal wave).

It is considered a laryngologic emergency, and it remains the primary reason to cancel a pending performance. Management is initially conservative with voice rest for one to two weeks or until resolution of the hemorrhage. A hemorrhage can be an isolated, self-limited event or may recur depending on its cause. In certain situations, surgery may be indicated to treat the underlying the reason for a hemorrhage.

The information contained on this website is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose and/or dictate treatment for any disease process. Please consult your physician for management tailored to your specific condition.