Healthcare utilization and costs in chronic cough

Peter Cho, James Shearer, Anna Simpson, Sanchika Campbell, Mark Pennington, Surinder S. Birring*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
72 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Chronic cough is a common reason for medical consultations and is associated with considerable physical and psychological morbidity. This study investigated healthcare use and cost in chronic cough and assessed its relationship with cough severity, health status, objective cough frequency (CF), and anxiety and depression. Methods: This was a prospective study of consecutive patients with chronic cough from a specialist clinic who completed a cough severity visual analogue scale (VAS), cough-specific health status (Leicester Cough Questionnaire; LCQ) and general health status EuroQol EQ-5D-5L, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD7), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ9), and 24-hour objective CF monitoring with Leicester Cough Monitor (LCM). Case notes were reviewed for cough-specific healthcare use 12 months before and after the first cough clinic consultation. Resource use included general practitioner and hospital clinic visits, investigations, and treatments. Unit costs for healthcare use were derived predominantly from National Health Service Reference Costs. Results: One hundred participants with chronic cough were recruited (69% female, median duration 3 years, mean age 58 years). The diagnoses of cough were unexplained (57%), refractory (27%), and other (16%). Cough severity, health status, and CF were: median (IQR) VAS = 59.5 (30–79) mm, mean (SD) LCQ = 11.9 (4.0), mean (SD) EQ-5D-5L = 0.846 (0.178), and geometric mean (SD) CF = 15.3 (2.5) coughs/hr, respectively. The mean (SD) total cost per individual for cough-related healthcare utilization was £1,663 (747). Diagnostic investigations were the largest contributor to cost (63%), followed by cough clinic consultations (25%). In multivariate analysis, anxiety (GAD7) and cough-related health status (LCQ) were associated with increased cost (p ≤.001 and.037). Conclusion: Healthcare cost associated with chronic cough are largely due to diagnostic investigations and clinic consultations. The predictors of costs were health status (LCQ) and anxiety. Further studies should investigate the optimal management protocols for patients with chronic cough.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1251-1257
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Issue number7
Early online date24 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 May 2022


  • Cough
  • Healthcare utilisation
  • cost analysis
  • chronic cough


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