Children presenting with chronic cough are common to the primary care physicians, but data on the etiology are scant.
We evaluated 40 children (age range, 5 to 12 years) with chronic cough (> 8 weeks duration) with no obvious cause who were referred by their primary care physicians. All patients underwent an extensive multispecialty workup that included pulmonary, GI, allergy, immunology, and otorhinolaryngology testing. Response to treatment was quantified pretreatment and 8 weeks after treatment by using a visual analog scale.
Positive diagnostic test results were noted for gastroesophageal reflux disease (27.5%), allergy (22.5%), asthma (12.5%), infection (5%), aspiration (2.5%), and multiple etiologies (20%). Appropriate treatment for these factors resulted in a significant improvement in cough.
Reflux, allergy, and asthma accounted for > 80% of the likely etiologic factors of chronic cough in children and responded to a¡ppropriate treatment.