Why patients consult when they cough: a comparison of consulting and non-consulting patients.
BACKGROUND: Although it is the commonest symptom presented to general practitioners (GPs), little is known about why someone decides to consult with a cough. AIM: To describe the illness behaviour of patients with a cough. METHOD: Patients who had consulted a GP because of a cough, and a group of subjects who had recently had a cough but had not consulted, were interviewed in a qualitative study that investigated how they made sense of their illness. RESULTS: Consulting patients understood their cough to be abnormally severe, whereas non-consulting subjects regarded their cough as 'normal' and mild. Consulting patients thought the cough would interfere with social roles and non-consulting subjects did not. The consulting patients were much more likely to be worried about the cough than the non-consulting subjects. In particular, half of the consulting patients were worried about their hearts, whereas the non-consulting subjects were not. The two groups did not distinguish bacteria from viruses, and did not differ in beliefs about the role of antibiotics that they thought were needed for severe coughs. Both groups had concerns about pollution. CONCLUSIONS: For consulting patients, cough breached the taken for granted property' of health that the non-consulting subjects with a cough were able to maintain. Cough, for the consulting patients, was not a trivial illness. (+info)
Cough frequency and cough receptor sensitivity to citric acid challenge during a simulated ascent to extreme altitude.
The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of cough and the citric acid cough threshold during hypobaric hypoxia under controlled environmental conditions. Subjects were studied during Operation Everest 3. Eight subjects ascended to a simulated altitude of 8,848 m over 31 days in a hypobaric chamber. Frequency of nocturnal cough was measured using voice-activated tape recorders, and cough threshold by inhalation of increasing concentrations of citric acid aerosol. Spirometry was performed before and after each test. Subjects recorded symptoms of acute mountain sickness and arterial oxygen saturation daily. Air temperature and humidity were controlled during the operation. Cough frequency increased with increasing altitude, from a median of 0 coughs (range 0-4) at sea level to 15 coughs (range 3-32) at a simulated altitude of 8,000 m. Cough threshold was unchanged on arrival at 5,000 m compared to sea level (geometric mean difference (GMD) 1.0, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.5-2.1, p=0.5), but fell on arrival at 8,000 m compared to sea level (GMD 3.3, 95% CI 1.1-10.3, p=0.043). There was no relationship between cough threshold and symptoms of acute mountain sickness, oxygen saturation or forced expiratory volume in one second. Temperature and humidity in the chamber were controlled between 18-24 degrees C and 30-60%, respectively. These results confirm an increase in cough frequency and cough receptor sensitivity associated with hypobaric hypoxia, and refute the hypothesis that high altitude cough is due to the inhalation of cold, dry air. The small sample size makes further conclusions difficult, and the cause of altitude-related cough remains unclear. (+info)
Evaluation and outcome of patients with chronic non-productive cough using a comprehensive diagnostic protocol.
BACKGROUND: Asthma, post-nasal drip syndrome (PNDS), and gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) account for many cases of chronic non-productive cough (CNPC). Each may simultaneously contribute to cough even when clinically silent, and failure to recognise their contribution may lead to unsuccessful treatment. METHODS: Patients (all lifetime non-smokers with normal chest radiographs and spirometric measurements) referred with CNPC persisting for more than three weeks as their sole respiratory symptom underwent histamine challenge, home peak flow measurements, ear, nose and throat (ENT) examination, sinus CT scanning, and 24 hour oesophageal pH monitoring. Treatment was prescribed on the basis of diagnoses informed by investigation results. RESULTS: Forty three patients (29 women) of mean age 47.5 years (range 18-77) and mean cough duration 67 months (range 2-240) were evaluated. On the basis of a successful response to treatment, a cause for the cough was identified in 35 patients (82%) as follows: cough variant asthma (CVA) (10 cases), PNDS (9 cases), GOR (8 cases), and dual aetiologies (8 cases). Histamine challenge correctly predicted CVA in 15 of 17 (88%) positive tests. ENT examination and sinus CT scans each had low positive predictive values for PNDS (10 of 16 (63%) and 12 of 18 (67%) positive cases, respectively), suggesting that upper airways disease frequently co-exists but does not always contribute to cough. When negative, histamine challenge and 24 hour oesophageal pH monitoring effectively ruled out CVA and GOR, respectively, as a cause for cough. CONCLUSION: This comprehensive approach aids the accurate direction of treatment and, while CVA, PNDS and GOR remain the most important causes of CNPC to consider, a group with no identifiable aetiology remains. (+info)
Increased neutrophils and cytokines, TNF-alpha and IL-8, in induced sputum of non-asthmatic patients with chronic dry cough.
BACKGROUND: The pathogenesis of non-asthmatic chronic dry cough remains unclear. METHODS: A study was undertaken to determine whether airway inflammation could be a contributing factor by analysing inflammatory cells and cytokines in induced sputum from 19 patients with chronic dry cough of varying aetiology, excluding asthma and bronchiectasis, and from 10 normal controls. The associated causes for the chronic cough were postnasal drip (n = 5), gastro-oesophageal reflux (n = 4), and idiopathic (n = 10). All patients had an enhanced cough reflex to capsaicin. RESULTS: Sputum neutrophilia (median (interquartile range)) was found in the patients with chronic cough (59.4 (27.1)%) compared with the normal controls (28.4 (22.0)%; p < 0.01, 95% CI 11.3 to 42.2). Sputum levels of interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) were also significantly increased compared with normal controls (0.57 (1.08) and 0.25 (0.72) ng/ml; p < 0.05 (95% CI 0.05 to 1.75) for IL-8; 48.3 (34.4) and 12.6 (33.6) pg/ml, p < 0.01 (95% CI 8.8 to 69.8) for TNF-alpha). CONCLUSION: Neutrophils and cytokines associated with neutrophil chemotaxis and activation may contribute to the pathogenesis of non-asthmatic chronic dry cough. (+info)
Cough threshold in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
BACKGROUND: Cough is an important symptom of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The cough threshold to citric acid and capsaicin in patients with COPD and in normal volunteers was measured, as well as bronchial hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. METHODS: Nineteen patients with COPD and 22 controls were recruited. Subjects underwent a methacholine bronchoprovocation test and a cough challenge to citric acid and capsaicin. RESULTS: The log citric acid cough threshold D2 (concentration causing two coughs) was significantly lower in patients with COPD (mean 2.17 versus 2.56, mean difference (95% CI) 0.39 (0.04 to 0.74), p = 0.02) but not for capsaicin cough D2 (0.66 versus 0.8, p = 0.41). Sixteen patients with COPD had bronchial hyperresponsiveness which was correlated with baseline FEV1 (r = 0.6, p = 0.01, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.84). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with COPD have a lower cough threshold to citric acid, possibly due to a differential effect of cigarette smoke on citric acid sensitive cough receptors. (+info)
Influence of parental smoking on respiratory symptoms during the first decade of life: the Tucson Children's Respiratory Study.
Compelling evidence suggests a causal relation between exposure to parental cigarette smoking and respiratory symptoms during childhood. Still, the roles of prenatal versus postnatal parental smoking need clarification. In this study, the authors assessed the effects of passive smoking on respiratory symptoms in a cohort of over 1,000 children born during 1980-1984. The children were enrolled in the Tucson Children's Respiratory Study in Tucson, Arizona, and were followed from birth to age 11 years. The population was generally middle class and consisted of two main ethnic groups, non-Hispanic Whites (75%) and Hispanics (20%), reflecting Tucson's population. Information on parental smoking and on wheeze and cough in their children was elicited from parents by using questionnaires at five different surveys. Data were analyzed both cross-sectionally and by using the generalized estimation equation approach, a longitudinal mixed-effects model. The best-fitting model indicated that maternal prenatal but not postnatal smoking was associated with current wheeze (odds ratio = 2.3, 95% confidence interval 1.4-3.8) independently of a family history of asthma, socioeconomic factors, and birth weight. This effect was time dependent and significant only below age 3 years; although independent of gender, the association was stronger for girls (odds ratio = 3.6, 95% confidence interval 1.6-8.0). Cough was not associated with parental smoking during the first decade of life. This transitory effect of maternal prenatal smoking on wheezing could be due to changes that affect the early stages of lung development. (+info)
Assessing the laryngeal cough reflex and the risk of developing pneumonia after stroke: an interhospital comparison.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: We sought to evaluate the efficacy of testing the laryngeal cough reflex in identifying pneumonia risk in acute stroke patients. METHODS: We performed a prospective study of 400 consecutive acute stroke patients examined using the reflex cough test (RCT) compared with 204 consecutive acute stroke patients from a sister facility examined without using the RCT. The binary end point for the study outcome was the development of pneumonia. RESULTS: Of the 400 patients examined with the RCT, 5 developed pneumonia. Of the 204 patients examined without the RCT, 27 developed pneumonia (P<0.001). Three of the 27 patients died in the rehabilitation hospital of respiratory failure secondary to pneumonia. Seven others were transferred to the emergency department with acute respiratory distress. Power analysis for this comparison was 0.99. There were no other significant differences between the 2 groups. CONCLUSIONS: A normal RCT after an acute stroke indicates a neurologically intact laryngeal cough reflex, a protected airway, and a low risk for developing aspiration pneumonia with oral feeding. An abnormal RCT indicates risk of an unprotected airway and an increased incidence of aspiration pneumonia. Alternate feeding strategies and preventive measures are necessary with an abnormal RCT. Clinical treatment algorithm and prescription of food, fluids, and medications are discussed on the basis of RCT results. (+info)
Pattern of expiratory muscle activation during lower thoracic spinal cord stimulation.
Large positive airway pressures (Paws) can be generated by lower thoracic spinal cord stimulation (SCS), which may be a useful method of restoring cough in spinal cord-injured patients. Optimal electrode placement, however, requires an assessment of the pattern of current spread during SCS. Studies were performed in anesthetized dogs to assess the pattern of expiratory muscle recruitment during SCS applied at different spinal cord levels. A multicontact stimulating electrode was positioned over the surface of the lower thoracic and upper lumbar spinal cord. Recording electromyographic electrodes were placed at several locations in the abdominal and internal intercostal muscles. SCS was applied at each lead, in separate trials, with single shocks of 0.2-ms duration. The intensity of stimulation was adjusted to determine the threshold for development of the compound action potential at each electrode lead. The values of current threshold for activation of each muscle formed parabolas with minimum values at specific spinal root levels. The slopes of the parabolas were relatively steep, indicating that the threshold for muscle activation increases rapidly at more cephalad and caudal sites. These results were compared with the effectiveness of SCS (50 Hz; train duration, 1-2 s) at different spinal cord levels to produce changes in Paw. Stimulation at the T9 and T10 spinal cord level resulted in the largest positive Paws with a single lead. At these sites, threshold values for activation of the internal intercostal (7-11th interspaces) upper portions of external oblique, rectus abdominis, and transversus abdominis were near their minimum. Threshold values for activation of the caudal portions of the abdominal muscles were high (>50 mA). Our results indicate that 1) activation of the more cephalad portions of the abdominal muscles is more important than activation of caudal regions in the generation of positive Paws and 2) it is not possible to achieve complete activation of the expiratory muscles with a single electrode lead by using modest current levels. In support of this latter conclusion, a two-electrode lead system results in more uniform expiratory muscle activation and significantly greater changes in Paw. (+info)