People who suffer from chronic cough oftentimes end up undergoing a huge amount of doctors’ visits, tests, and medications in order to try and treat the condition. Chronic cough has the following symptoms:

  • Cough that does not get better after months or even years of persistence
  • Dry cough
  • Diagnostic tests, including endoscopy, come back normal
  • Cough occurs as a result of no noticeable reason

Sometimes, chronic cough is diagnosed as a rare condition called laryngeal sensory neuropathy. Laryngeal sensory neuropathy occurs when the nerve that brings sensation to the voice box was injured and is now hypersensitive. Laryngeal sensory neuropathy is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that it is only diagnosed when other options have been completely ruled out. As a result, tests for reflux, allergies, reactive airway disease, asthma, virus, infection, aspiration, and other conditions must be conducted. Once diagnosed laryngeal sensory neuropathy may be treated with a number of different medications, relying on trial and error in order to find which one will help the nerve to return to normal sensitivity levels. Researchers have recently developed a new test to diagnose laryngeal sensory neuropathy without the need for an exclusionary workup. The test is called Surface Evoked Laryngeal Sensory Action Potential (SELSAP). It is non-invasive and tests the function of the sensory nervy by placing an electrode to the side of the voicebox, underneath the chin, and sending a mild electric stimulus through the electrode. It tests the response of the superior laryngeal nerve, the nerve responsible for causing the urge to cough in affected patients. This test is very new and it’s fairly unproven. However, if the patient’s superior laryngeal nerve is found via the test to be very hyperfunctional, treatment for laryngeal sensory neuropathy may begin immediately without going through other tests first.


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