Lung transplantation has become the standard of care for particular individuals with advanced lung disease. However, this surgical procedure involves interruption of the lower vagal nerve fibers which leads to loss of the protective cough reflex. Injury of the neural pathways involved with the sensory limb of the cough reflex is associated with an increased risk of complications involving the allograft. While loss of the cough reflex was once considered permanent, recent evidence indicates functional and structural restoration is a time-dependent process that occurs 6-12 months after lung transplantation. The implication that the cough reflex may be reestablished in lung transplant recipients provides insight into the dynamic response to airway neural injury that may lead to improvements in allograft tissue repair.
- Cough reflex
- Lung transplantation
- Nerve injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine