Psychogenic cough in a schoolboy: evaluation using an ambulatory cough recorder

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2003 Jul;36(1):73-5. doi: 10.1002/ppul.10291.


Psychogenic cough occurs most commonly in patients under 18 years of age. Making the diagnosis on clinical features alone is problematic, and it is usually a diagnosis of exclusion after several negative clinical investigations. We report on the case of a 13-year-old schoolboy with a 3-month history of persistent dry cough with no other associated symptoms. Clinical examination and investigations revealed no abnormality, and empirical trials of antiasthma and antacid medications proved unsuccessful. An objective assessment of his cough frequency was made using an ambulatory cough monitor. A large number of cough episodes were recorded during the day, but during the time he was in bed there were very few episodes recorded. This suggested a diagnosis of psychogenic cough, and he underwent behavior modification therapy under the guidance of a clinical psychologist, with good result. Objective cough monitoring may therefore improve the evaluation and management of chronic cough.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cough / diagnosis*
  • Cough / psychology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Students