Elderly white, thin, nonsmoking women appear to be more susceptible to lung infections with Mycobacterium avium complex and other nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). It has been postulated that such disease in women is related to the suppression of their cough. We hypothesized that subjects with pulmonary NTM (pNTM) infections may have altered cough physiology compared to unaffected control subjects. We used capsaicin induced cough to assess their cough reflex. Eight white elderly women with stable chronic pNTM lung infections and six unaffected age matched control subjects were recruited. There was no significant difference between groups in capsaicin cough motor response, airflow pattern or cough frequency. pNTM subjects showed significantly lower urge to cough (UTC) at the lowest capsaicin concentration compared to control subjects (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences in the UTC score between pNTM and control subjects when the capsaicin concentration was greater than 50 uM. These result suggest that pNTM subjects have lower UTC sensitivity to the lowest concentration capsaicin compared to control subjects. In other words, they do not sense an urge to cough when the stimulus is relatively small.
- Urge to cough
- elderly women
- Copyright © 2016, Journal of Applied Physiology