Cough peak flow (CPF) is a useful clinical measurement to assess neuromuscular activity and effective coordination, yet it is rarely used in clinical practice outside of the management of patients with neuromuscular disorders. A CPF of above 160 L/min is required for an effective cough and less than 270 L/min is associated with increased secretion retention and risk of infection. Reduced CPF can be due to a number of mechanisms including reduced respiratory muscle strength, lack of co-ordination of glottic closure and opening, airway obstruction and, age and activity related changes. CPF has been shown to be correlated with other measures of pulmonary function in neuromuscular disorders and in predicting extubation failure. Patients with Parkinson’s disease have a reduced CPF even at early stages and dedicated expiratory muscle strength training (EMST) has been shown to be beneficial. Sequential studies in patient with stroke-associated dysphagia reported CPF was correlated with risk of respiratory infection and results of formal swallow assessments. Age-related changes in expiratory muscle strength and lung physiology contribute to increased risk of aspiration and pneumonia. EMST may have a role in healthy adults to improve muscle strength and effective cough, potentially reducing risk of respiratory tract infections even in the absence of disease. CPF has potential to be extremely useful in clinical practice in a wide spectrum of diseases. In particular, studies in patients with frequent exacerbations of COPD and recurrent pneumonia are currently lacking and would be of benefit to explore the relationship between ineffective cough and recurrent infection.
Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier Ltd.