Send to

Choose Destination
Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Jun;24(3):312-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2011.01.015. Epub 2011 Feb 19.

Voluntary and reflex cough and the expiration reflex; implications for aspiration after stroke.

Author information

Univ London, 116 Pepys Road, London SW208NY, UK.


Aspiration is a common result of stroke, and may lead to lung infections and pneumonia. Cough may prevent this aspiration and thus prevent the pneumonia. We review the four types of cough usually used to assess aspiration risk: voluntary cough (VC), reflex cough (RC), the laryngeal expiration reflex (LER), and cough on swallow (CoS). VC is easy to test but starts with an inspiration that may cause aspiration, and is controlled by cortico-brainstem pathways that may not be involved in influencing aspiration. RC also starts with an inspiration, and requires instrumental intervention, but is more relevant to protecting the lungs. The LER starts with an expiration, so is 'anti-aspiration', and is easy to test, but its neural mechanisms have not been fully analysed. CoS can be tested at the same time as direct observations of aspiration, but little is known about its neural mechanisms. Each method has its advocates, and the purpose of the review is to discuss how each may be applied and how the information from each may be assessed and valued.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center