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Mayo Clin Proc. 2013 Oct;88(10):1115-26. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2013.08.007.

Chronic cough: an update.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.


Cough persisting beyond 8 weeks (ie, chronic cough) is one of the most common reasons for an outpatient visit. A protracted cough can negatively affect one's quality of life by causing anxiety, physical discomfort, social isolation, and personal embarrassment. Herein, the anatomy and physiology of the cough reflex are reviewed. Upper airway cough syndrome, asthma, eosinophilic bronchitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease account for most chronic cough after excluding smoking, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor use, and chronic bronchitis. Many patients have more than one reason for chronic cough. Treating the underlying cause(s) resolves cough in most instances. There are some coughs that seem refractory despite an extensive work-up. The possibility of a hypersensitive cough reflex response has been proposed to explain these cases. Several clinical algorithms to evaluate chronic cough are presented.


ACE; CRS; CT; GERD; LPR; NAEB; NO; NOS; PND; PPI; TLESR; UACS; angiotensin-converting enzyme; chronic rhinosinusitis; computed tomography; gastroesophageal reflux disease; iNOS; inducible nitric oxide synthase; laryngopharyngeal reflux; nitric oxide; nitric oxide synthase; nonasthmatic eosinophilic bronchitis; postnasal drip; proton pump inhibitor; transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation; upper airway cough syndrome

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