Korean J Asthma Allergy Clin Immunol.  2004 Dec;24(4):415-420.

Causes and Clinical Features of Subacute Cough


Cough lasting more than three weeks is defined as chronic cough. Dividing chronic cough into subacute, lasting three to eight weeks, and chronic, lasting more than eight weeks is more persuasive. OBJECTIVE: We evaluated causes, clinical courses of subacute cough, and the value of bronchoprovocation test and induced sputum examination. METHOD: Patients with cough for three to eight weeks were enrolled. Patients with dyspnea, basal FEV1 of less than 70% of the predicted value, abnormal findings on chest X- ray, or smokers were excluded. We prescribed an antihistamine-decongestant for patients suspected as postinfectious cough or post-nasal drip based on their symptoms or signs. If patients had positive results on bronchoprovocation testor induced sputum examination, inhaled corticosteroids were prescribed as algorithimc approach. RESULT: One hundred and eighty four patients (77 men, 107 women) were evaluated, the mean age was 47.5 years. Cough resolved without treatment in 62 patients. Eighty-nine of 184 patients had postinfectious cough, 29 of 43 patients with positive bronchoprovocation test had cough variant asthma. CONCLUSION: Spontaneous resolution of cough was frequent in subacute cough. Postinfectious cough was the most common cause of subacute cough. Bronchoprovocation test could be delayed after empirical treatment unless asthma was strongly suspected.

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