Cough as the sole manifestation of airway hyperreactivity

J Laryngol Otol. 1989 Jul;103(7):680-2. doi: 10.1017/s0022215100109715.


The authors report 18 patients who presented to the ENT department with isolated cough, which had begun one month to 14 years previously. As the ENT examination was negative, the patients were referred to the Department of General Medicine where a bronchial reactivity test with acetylcholine was found to be positive, leading to a diagnosis of airway hyperreactivity. The group was predominantly female (15/18) and atopy was rare; indeed, only one patient, who had a history of allergic rhinitis, was found to be atopic. Bronchodilators and inhaled steroids cured or helped the cough in 16/18 patients. When a patient presents with chronic cough without other respiratory symptoms it is important to consider a diagnosis of airway hyperreactivity and to confirm this with a challenge test of bronchoconstriction.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Cough / etiology*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vital Capacity