A clinical trial is under way in Australia to see if botox injections to the vocal cords can improve the shortness of breath some asthmatics have. Though nobody disputes that asthma is a pulmonary problem, it is not uncommon that the vocal cords in asthmatics may be dysfunctional exacerbating the breathing problem.
What is meant by dysfunctional? It's when the vocal cords come together when the person is trying to breath. It is also known as paradoxical vocal cord motion, vocal cord dysfunction, or laryngospasm at its worst. Read more here.
Botox injections will paralyze the vocal cord muscles preventing the vocal cords from coming together thereby allowing easier airflow into the lungs... or at least that's the hope. This procedure is commonly performed in patients suffering from spasmodic dysphonia and the technique used to treat these patients would be the same as that proposed for asthmatics. Watch a video here on how this is performed.
What's the downside? Aspiration, breathy voice, and trouble swallowing are common but temporary side effects. Problem is if aspiration occurs in a patient with significant pulmonary compromise, it can potentially be devastating leading to asthma exacerbation and even pneumonia.
Read a news article regarding this clinical trial here.