Purpose: Studies that investigate the impact of chronic cough have largely focused on patients attending secondary care. Our aim was to investigate the opinions of the wider general population across Europe.
Methods: An internet survey was made available in 12 languages on the European Lung Foundation website, between January 2012 and April 2013.
Results: Of 1120 respondents from 29 different European countries, 67 % were female, mean age 51 years (SD 15), median cough duration 2-5 years. The majority of respondents reported cough impacted their quality of life, mood and ability to undertake activities. Despite 72 % of respondents having visited their doctor ≥3 times, only 53 % had received a diagnosis. Asthma was the most common diagnosis (23 %). Most respondents reported limited or no effectiveness of medications. 88 % of respondents reported that they would like more information to be available on chronic cough.
Conclusions: Chronic cough has a negative impact on quality of life. Further work is needed to raise awareness, promote management strategies, develop effective treatments and consider the educational and support needs of patients with chronic cough.