Chronic cough: A guide to evaluation and management

Anthony B.X. Breslin*, Alvin J. Ing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


• The most effective management is specific therapy directed at the underlying cause, which results in a positive response in more than 80% of patients. Therefore, a careful assessment to identify the cause of chronic cough is important. • A chest x-ray should be taken early in the clinical investagation of chronic cough. • The three most common causes of chronic cough when chest x-rays are normal are postnasal discharge, bronchial asthma and occult gastro-oesophageal reflux. • Remember that cough may be the sole manifestation of occult reflux or asthma. • Causes of chronic cough can coexist. If one cause seems likely, this should be treated; if multiple causes seem likely and important, treatment should be directed at each. • Referral to a thoracic physician should be considered if the patient's x-ray is abnormal, if the x-ray is normal but there is no response to first line therapy over three to four weeks, of if serious symptoms exist (e.g. haemoptysis).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalMedicine Today
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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