[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Recent studies suggest that objectively quantifying coughing in audio recordings offers a novel means to understand coughing and assess treatments. Currently, manual cough counting is the most accurate method for quantifying coughing. However, the demand of manually counting cough records is substantial, demonstrating a need to reduce record lengths prior to counting whilst preserving the coughs within them. This study tested the performance of an algorithm developed for this purpose. METHODS: 20 subjects were recruited (5 healthy smokers and non-smokers, 5 chronic cough, 5 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 5 asthma), fitted with an ambulatory recording system and recorded for 24 hours. The recordings produced were divided into 15 min segments and counted. Periods of inactive audio in each segment were removed using the median frequency and power of the audio signal and the resulting files re-counted. RESULTS: The median resultant segment length was 13.9 s (IQR 56.4 s) and median 24 hr recording length 62.4 min (IQR 100.4). A median of 0.0 coughs/h (IQR 0.0-0.2) were erroneously removed and the variability in the resultant cough counts was comparable to that between manual cough counts. The largest error was seen in asthmatic patients, but still only 1.0% coughs/h were missed. CONCLUSIONS: These data show that a system which measures signal activity using the median audio frequency can substantially reduce record lengths without significantly compromising the coughs contained within them.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cough is a common presenting symptom in patients with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). This study measured cough rates in IPF patients and investigated the association between cough and measures of health related quality of life and subjective cough assessments. In addition, IPF cough rates were related to measures of physiological disease severity and compared to cough rates in health and other respiratory conditions.
Nineteen IPF patients, mean age 70.8 years +/- 8.6, five female (26.3%) were studied. Subjects performed full pulmonary function testing, 24 hour ambulatory cough recordings, completed a cough related quality of life questionnaire (Leicester Cough Questionnaire) and subjectively scored cough severity with a visual analogue scale. Ambulatory cough recordings were manually counted and reported as number of coughs per hour.
The 24hr cough rates were high (median 9.4, range 1.5-39.4), with day time rates much higher than night time (median 14.6, range 1.9-56.6 compared to 1.9, range 0-19.2, p = 0.003). Strong correlations were found between objective cough frequency and both the VAS (day r = 0.80, p < 0.001, night r = 0.71, p = 0.001) and LCQ (r = -0.80, p < 0.001), but not with measures of pulmonary function. Cough rates in IPF were higher than healthy subjects (p < 0.001) and asthma patients (p < 0.001) but similar to patients with chronic cough (p = 0.33).
This study confirms objectively that cough is a major, very distressing and disabling symptom in IPF patients. The strong correlations between objective cough counts and cough related quality of life measures suggest that in IPF patient's, perception of cough frequency is very accurate.