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Measurement of the Maximum Frequency of Electroglottographic Fluctuations in the Expiration Phase of Volitional Cough as a Functional Test for Cough Efficiency


The hypotheses of the present study were that the maximum frequency of fluctuation of electroglottographic (EGG) signals in the expiration phase of volitional cough (VC) reflects the cough efficiency and that this EGG parameter is affected by impaired laryngeal closure, expiratory effort strength, and gender. For 20 normal healthy adults and 20 patients diagnosed with unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP), each participant was fitted with EGG electrodes on the neck, had a transnasal laryngo-fiberscope inserted, and was asked to perform weak/strong VC tasks while EGG signals and a high-speed digital image of the larynx were recorded. The maximum frequency was calculated in the EGG fluctuation region coinciding with vigorous vocal fold vibration in the laryngeal HSDIs. In addition, each participant underwent spirometry for measurement of three aerodynamic parameters, including peak expiratory air flow (PEAF), during weak/strong VC tasks. Significant differences were found for both maximum EGG frequency and PEAF between the healthy and UVFP groups and between the weak and strong VC tasks. Among the three cough aerodynamic parameters, PEAF showed the highest positive correlation with the maximum EGG frequency. The correlation coefficients between the maximum EGG frequency and PEAF recorded simultaneously were 0.574 for the whole group, and 0.782/0.717/0.823/0.688 for the male/female/male-healthy/male-UVFP subgroups, respectively. Consequently, the maximum EGG frequency measured in the expiration phase of VC was shown to reflect the velocity of expiratory airflow to some extent and was suggested to be affected by vocal fold physical properties, glottal closure condition, and the expiratory function.

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This investigation was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP26462604.

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Correspondence to Makoto Ogawa.

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The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper.

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Iwahashi, T., Ogawa, M., Hosokawa, K. et al. Measurement of the Maximum Frequency of Electroglottographic Fluctuations in the Expiration Phase of Volitional Cough as a Functional Test for Cough Efficiency. Dysphagia 32, 691–702 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00455-017-9815-1

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  • Cough efficiency
  • Electroglottography
  • Aerodynamic assessment
  • Peak expiratory air flow
  • Deglutition disorders