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Prevalence and Burden of Chronic Cough in the United States

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Published:1st Nov 2021
Author: Meltzer EO, Zeiger RS, Dicpinigaitis P, Bernstein JA, Oppenheimer JJ, Way NA et al.
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Ref.:J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2021 Nov;9(11):4037-4044.e2.
Prevalence and Burden of Chronic Cough in the United States

Background: Chronic cough is a common complaint but there are little population-based data on its burden in the United States.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of chronic cough and its burden on individuals and the health care system.

Methods: This was a survey of respondents who completed the 2018 National Health and Wellness Survey and questions about sleep and health care resource use. Chronic cough was defined as having a daily cough for 8 or more weeks. Respondents without chronic cough were selected through propensity score matching. Chronic cough prevalence was estimated using poststratification sampling weights calculated using U.S. Census data and post-data Horvitz-Thompson sampling weights to adjust for sampling bias.

Results: Of 74,977 National Health and Wellness Survey respondents, 3,654 had experienced chronic cough in the previous 12 months, for a weighted prevalence of 5.0%. Respondents with chronic cough were older and more predominantly female than respondents without chronic cough (both P < .001). Compared with matched respondents without chronic cough, those with chronic cough had lower mean scores on the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form Survey v2 physical (P < .001) and mental (P < .001) component summary scores. More respondents with chronic cough than matched controls experienced severe anxiety and severe depression in the past 2 weeks, work productivity impairment, impaired sleep quality and daytime sleepiness, as well as more emergency department visits and hospitalizations in the past 6 months (P < .001 for all comparisons).

Conclusions: The burden of chronic cough manifests itself as reduced health-related quality of life, increased anxiety and depression, impaired sleep and work productivity, and greater health care utilization.

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