Cough Provocation and Clinical Application Swallowing and coughing are two of the prime physiological motor responses for protecting the lower airways. Both can be induced either volitionally or reflexively. Both have various sensory sites that contribute to a reflexive response and, with both, the robustness of the response are gauged as an attribute that ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2002
Cough Provocation and Clinical Application
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Joseph Murray
    VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Debra Suitor
    University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
  • Thomas W. Sowell
    Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, Little Rock, AR
  • Carrie Stangl
    VA Chicago Healthcare System, Chicago, IL
  • Carol Smith Hammond
    VA Medical Center, Durham, NC
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Articles
Article   |   December 01, 2002
Cough Provocation and Clinical Application
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), December 2002, Vol. 11, 6-12. doi:10.1044/sasd11.4.6
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), December 2002, Vol. 11, 6-12. doi:10.1044/sasd11.4.6
Swallowing and coughing are two of the prime physiological motor responses for protecting the lower airways. Both can be induced either volitionally or reflexively. Both have various sensory sites that contribute to a reflexive response and, with both, the robustness of the response are gauged as an attribute that may predict outcome. The two are intertwined in a way that reveals the beauty of redundant design found in human physiology. Should the swallow fail to trigger in a timely or vigorous fashion and thus fail to protect the airway, the cough (and other mechanisms) can act to counter the assault and maintain the integrity of the lower airways. The volitional cough requires cortical activation and considerable organization of motor output. When a cough is reflexive, it can be activated due to the stimulation of sensory fibers sensitive to inhaled particulate matter, irritants in the airway, large amounts of mucus in the airway, or when there is edema or inflammation of the upper or lower airways.
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