oa Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology - A diagnostic approach to chronic cough in children : guest review

Volume 29, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1609-3607



Chronic cough, defined by the majority of studies and guidelines as a cough that lasts longer than four weeks, is common in the paediatric population, but the true prevalence and burden of disease remains difficult to define. It is now understood that the aetiology of chronic cough in children differs from that in adults. Children with chronic cough should be managed with paediatric-specific algorithms because those who are treated in this manner have improved clinical outcomes. Recent studies have focused on protracted bacterial bronchitis as a major cause of chronic cough in pre-school children and its role as a possible precursor of bronchiectasis. Recognising those children with possibly serious underlying diseases is critical to preventing delayed diagnosis and poor outcomes. However, it is equally important not to over-investigate those children who have an isolated non-specific cough. Clinicians should be familiar with the vast list of important causes of a chronic cough as well as the history-taking and clinical skill to define patients at risk of having a potentially serious disease in order to manage them timeously and appropriately.

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