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Respir Med. 2017 Nov;132:95-101. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2017.09.013. Epub 2017 Sep 27.

Measuring voluntary and reflexive cough strength in healthy individuals.

Author information

1
The University of Canterbury Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery & Research, St George's Medical Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand; Department of Communication Disorders, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Electronic address: clairemills3@gmail.com.
2
The University of Canterbury Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery & Research, St George's Medical Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand; Department of Communication Disorders, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand; Department of Medical Physics & Bioengineering, Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand; New Zealand Brain Research Institute, Christchurch, New Zealand.
3
The University of Canterbury Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery & Research, St George's Medical Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand; Department of Communication Disorders, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cough reflex testing is a validated tool for identifying patients at risk of silent aspiration. However, inter- and intra-rater reliabilities of perceptual judgements of cough strength are sub-optimal. Although there are clinically established methods for measuring volitional cough strength, no similar methods are identified for reflexive cough strength. This study evaluated three measurement methods of voluntary and suppressed reflexive cough strength.

METHODS:

Fifty-three healthy subjects (≥50 years) participated in this study. Participants produced 'strong' and 'weak' voluntary coughs and suppressed reflexive coughs to incremental doses of citric acid. Peak and area under the curve (AUC) measurements were taken of pressure, airflow, and acoustics.

RESULTS:

There was no dose effect of citric acid on measures of reflexive cough strength. Strong voluntary coughs were stronger than reflexive coughs for all measures (p < 0.001) and weak voluntary coughs were stronger than reflexive coughs for two measures (AUC pressure: p < 0.020; peak flow: p < 0.004). AUC pressure and peak flow had the highest correlations and effect sizes. Correlations were low between voluntary and reflexive cough strength for all measures (r ≤ 0.46).

CONCLUSION:

Assessing strength of reflexive cough, rather than voluntary cough, is highly desirable in the dysphagic population. Pressure and flow provide the most useful objective measurements.

KEYWORDS:

Acoustic; Airflow; Cough strength; Pressure; Reflexive cough; Voluntary cough

PMID:
29229113
DOI:
10.1016/j.rmed.2017.09.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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