Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cough. 2013 May 20;9:15. doi: 10.1186/1745-9974-9-15. eCollection 2013.

Capability of hypertonic saline cough provocation test to predict the response to inhaled corticosteroids in chronic cough: a prospective, open-label study.

Author information

  • Unit for Medicine and Clinical Research, Pulmonary Division, Kuopio University Hospital, PL 1777, Kuopio 70211, Finland.



Many patients with chronic cough respond to treatment with inhaled corticosteroids but it is difficult to predict which patients are likely to respond. The primary aim of the present study was to define the capability of hypertonic saline cough provocation test to predict the responsiveness to inhaled corticosteroids in chronic cough. The secondary aim was to assess the ability of the saline test to monitor the healing of cough during corticosteroid treatment.


Forty-three patients with chronic cough were recruited. Before therapy, spirometry, ambulatory peak flow monitoring, nitric oxide measurement, histamine airway challenge, and saline test were performed. Those responding to the first saline test repeated it and the nitric oxide measurement during the subsequent visits. The patients used inhaled budesonide, 400 ug twice daily, for twelve weeks. The treatment response was assessed by Leicester Cough Questionnaire at baseline, and at one, four, and twelve weeks.


Seventy-seven % of the patients demonstrated the minimal important difference in the Leicester Cough Questionnaire indicating a symptomatic response. Neither the response magnitude nor the speed was predicted by the saline test. Histamine challenge showed the strongest predictive ability: The maximal improvement in Leicester Cough Questionnaire total score was 5.08 (3.76 - 6.40) points in the histamine positive and 2.78 (1.55 - 4.01) points in the histamine negative subjects (p = 0.006). Baseline nitric oxide level also associated with the improvement in Leicester Cough Questionnaire total score (p = 0.02). During the treatment, the cough sensitivity to saline gradually decreased among the budesonide responders but not in the non-responders. Nitric oxide levels decreased very rapidly among the responders.


Saline test cannot predict the responsiveness to inhaled corticosteroids in chronic cough but it may be utilized to monitor the effect of this treatment.


The study was registered in ClinicalTrials.gov database (KUH5801112). ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00859274.


Airway hyperresponsiveness; Chronic cough; Cough provocation tests; Inhaled corticosteroids; Nitric oxide

Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (3)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk