Augustine S. Lee, M.D., is actively engaged in researching the interaction of esophageal disease and cough reflex and how they relate to pulmonary aspiration syndromes. Specific clinical interests related to this topic include patients with chronic cough, interstitial lung disease and acute respiratory failure.
- Identifying mechanisms of pulmonary aspiration syndromes
- Characterizing how chronic cough potentiates or protects against respiratory disorders, particularly interstitial lung disease and acute lung injury
- Identifying mechanisms of how gastroesophageal dysfunction interacts with respiratory disorders
Significance to patient care
Pulmonary aspiration is commonly attributed to many respiratory disorders, despite the absence of an accurate and sensitive test. As such, it is often diagnosed presumptively based on clinical risk factors, including the presence of gastroesophageal disorders and cough. However, the risk factors and precise mechanisms for how esophageal dysfunction can promote aspiration and overcome protective defenses (such as cough) to cause respiratory diseases are undefined.
Dr. Lee's research aims to more clearly identify the mechanisms and interaction between the upper gastrointestinal system and the lungs, which will allow health care providers to better identify diagnostic tests and therapeutic targets. Such tests and therapies have significant implications for a variety of prevalent or devastating acute and chronic respiratory disorders including interstitial lung disease, chronic cough, post-lung transplant rejection and acute respiratory distress syndrome.