RATIONALE: Recent guidelines consider chronic cough to be a unique clinical entity with different phenotypes. We aimed to investigate them in a general population and to describe prevalence, distribution, and characteristics of these phenotypes within the Austrian general population.
METHODS: From the LEAD study, a longitudinal observational population-based cohort, data from questionnaires and spirometry of 10,057 adult participants was analysed. Chronic cough was defined as coughing nearly every day during the last 12 months for at least 3 months (>12 weeks).
RESULTS: The prevalence of chronic cough was 9% and increased with age. We found no sex predominance but a female preponderance (68%) in never smokers. A presumable cause was identified in 85% of which more than half (53.9%) had two phenotypes, 36.9% belonged to one only and 9.2% to three or more. Regarding the distribution of phenotypes, 40.8% were current smokers, 32.6% had an ACE inhibitor intake, 18.2% GERD, 17.6% asthmatic cough, 9.7% UACS and 28.3% other diseases associated with chronic cough. 15% had unexplained chronic cough with no identifiable phenotype. Current smoking, low socioeconomic status, obesity, COPD and obstructive sleep apnea were associated factors with chronic cough.
CONCLUSION: Chronic cough is common among adults in Austria and highly prevalent in the older population. Most participants can be phenotyped with simple questionnaire-based assessment and can therefore potentially receive specific treatment without intensive clinical workup.
- Chronic cough