Persistent cough: prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux and study of relevant laryngeal signs

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004 Nov;131(5):767-72. doi: 10.1016/j.otohns.2004.04.001.


Cough is one of the atypical manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD). The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of GERD among patients presenting with persistent cough. The study included 80 patients over a period of 3 years. The inclusion criteria were nonsmoker adults with normal chest radiograph whose chief complaint was cough for at least 4 weeks duration. All patients included were subjected to nasal endoscopy, laryngoscopy, and 24-hour pH monitoring. Reflux was recorded in the different positions. Laryngeal signs of reflux were traced for and their significance was calculated. Patients who proved to have GERD received antireflux treatment with a follow-up of 3 months. The response to antireflux treatment was assessed according to subjective and objective improvement. Relapse in the follow-up period occurred in 9% of patients. It is concluded that laryngeal signs of GERD should be well known to diagnose and properly manage persistent cough.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cough / etiology*
  • Cough / therapy
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / therapy
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Diseases / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Treatment Outcome