Various terms are used to describe a chronic cough that has no obvious medical explanation; these terms include chronic refractory cough, chronic idiopathic cough, and chronic persistent cough. The terminology in this topic is challenging and a general problem in scientific reports, all of which describe a condition that is often misdiagnosed and unsuccessfully treated.
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Unexplained chronic cough (UCC) is a frustrating condition not only for the patients but also for physicians involved in efforts to treat these patients. Although non-life-threatening, chronic cough influences social activity and quality of life. Most patients with significant symptoms have been extensively examined and have tried a variety of asthma, COPD, and cough medications. Treatment failure is more the rule than the exception, despite evident links between a number of respiratory conditions and aspects of coughing. In recent years, a new concept of cough hypersensitivity as a clinically useful paradigm has been developed to categorize patients with chronic cough under the “umbrella” of cough hypersensitivity syndrome (CHS). CHS comprises patients who have a chronic cough that is often triggered by low levels of thermal, mechanical, or chemical exposure, with or without pathologic medical findings. CHS is closely related to the condition described as laryngeal hypersensitivity syndrome.