A vocal cord hemorrhage occurs when blood collects within the layers of the vocal cord after a blood vessel breakes. Vocal cord hemorrhages are essentially bruises of the vocal cord. Singers and others who use their voices often who experience a sudden change in the voice should be concerned for a hemorrhage, and evaluated immediately to prevent long term damage.
Vocal cord hemorrhages occur after a traumatic voice event such as:
Diagnosis of vocal fold hemorrhage is made during laryngoscopy and stroboscopy. Diagnosis of a vocal fold hemorrhage is very important; if one continues to sing or talk with a hemorrhage, scarring of the vocal fold layers and permanent voice changes may occur.
A vocal fold hemorrhage is treated with voice rest. Hemorrhage can worsen if the voice is continually used, potentially causing irreversible vocal fold scar. Close follow up with laryngoscopy is important to ensure that the hemorrhage resolves.
At times, after the hemorrhage resolves an irregular vessel may be identified as the cause of a hemorrhage. Microlaryngoscopy and laser surgery may be used to ablate irregular vessels, preventing future hemorrhage from occurring.