What do we know about chronic cough?
A chronic cough is defined as one lasting more than 8 weeks. This is a common and distressing condition. It particularly affects women between the ages of 45 and 55. Many report a persistent dry cough with a sensation of throat irritation, particularly after exposure to changes in temperature or irritant fumes. Talking and laughing can also trigger cough. The problem is caused by a heightened cough reflex.
Common causes include a side effect of blood pressure tablets (ACE inhibitors such as ramipril, lisinopril, captopril and perindropril), asthma, nasal disease and acid refluxing from the stomach to the gullet and throat. However, in up to 40% of patients none of these conditions are present and the cough is unexplained.
Leicester Cough Clinic
The Leicester Cough Clinic is based at Glenfield Hospital. It is one of only three specialist cough clinics in England. The clinic provides a wide range of diagnostic tests and treatment for chronic cough and has about 200 patient referrals each year. The clinic is supported by ear nose and throat (ENT) surgeons, radiologists, lung function technicians and by a specialist chest physiotherapist with considerable expertise in the area.
Cough research at the BRU
Active research programmes are looking into the causes of chronic cough and we hope that better treatments will become available in the future. Reassuringly, the longer-term prognosis of all cough syndromes is good.