Bronchorrhea following stroke

Chung Yang Sung*, Tsong Hai Lee, Nai Shin Chu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Stroke-induced excessive bronchial secretion is not rare, but seldom discussed. This study emphasizes its recognition, pathophysiology and treatment. Methods: We prospectively collected data from 19 consecutive stroke patients with bronchorrhea who were admitted within 2 days of stroke onset. Results: Sixteen of them (84%) suffered from ischemic stroke, and 3 patients (16%) had hemorrhage. All of them had brainstem involvement, and 11 of them (58%) had localized lesions in the dorsal lateral medulla. In 15 patients (79%), copious secretion developed within 3 days after stroke onset. The frequency of expectoration was variable with fluctuation, and half of the patients (47%) had to spit every 2-5 min during its climax. The duration of increased secretion ranged from 4 days to over 2 months. Half of the patients (53%) received anticholinergic treatment, and the response was fair to good. Conclusions: Our data provide clinical evidence that stroke patients with dorsal medulla involvement might present with bronchorrhea which seemed to be mediated via a parasympathetic mechanism. This is a treatable disease, and early diagnosis and treatment may greatly reduce patients' suffering, avoid antibiotics abuse, reduce the incidence of aspiration pneumonia, and shorten the length of hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Bronchorrhea
  • Lateral medullary syndrome
  • Sputum
  • Stroke care


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