A Cough Algorithm for Chronic Cough in Children: A Multicenter, Randomized Controlled Study

aChild Health Division, Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 04/2013; 131(5). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-3318
Source: PubMed


The goals of this study were to: (1) determine if management according to a standardized clinical management pathway/algorithm (compared with usual treatment) improves clinical outcomes by 6 weeks; and (2) assess the reliability and validity of a standardized clinical management pathway for chronic cough in children.

A total of 272 children (mean ± SD age: 4.5 ± 3.7 years) were enrolled in a pragmatic, multicenter, randomized controlled trial in 5 Australian centers. Children were randomly allocated to 1 of 2 arms: (1) early review and use of cough algorithm ("early-arm"); or (2) usual care until review and use of cough algorithm ("delayed-arm"). The primary outcomes were proportion of children whose cough resolved and cough-specific quality of life scores at week 6. Secondary measures included cough duration postrandomization and the algorithm's reliability, validity, and feasibility.

Cough resolution (at week 6) was significantly more likely in the early-arm group compared with the delayed-arm group (absolute risk reduction: 24.7% [95% confidence interval: 13-35]). The difference between cough-specific quality of life scores at week 6 compared with baseline was significantly better in the early-arm group (mean difference between groups: 0.6 [95% confidence interval: 0.29-1.0]). Duration of cough postrandomization was significantly shorter in the early-arm group than in the delayed-arm group (P = .001). The cough algorithm was reliable (κ = 1 in key steps). Feasibility was demonstrated by the algorithm's validity (93%-100%) and efficacy (99.6%). Eighty-five percent of children had etiologies easily diagnosed in primary care.

Management of children with chronic cough, in accordance with a standardized algorithm, improves clinical outcomes irrespective of when it is implemented. Further testing of this standardized clinical algorithm in different settings is recommended.

Download full-text


Available from: Craig Mellis, Jan 05, 2016
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cough can persist despite exhaustive diagnostic and therapeutic effort and has been termed 'idiopathic' or 'unexplained' but perhaps 'difficult to treat' cough is a more appropriate description. In this article the reasons for poor treatment response are discussed. These include a lack of physician fidelity to management guidelines, patient non-adherence and the lack of effective medicines. A number of randomized controlled trials have been undertaken including low dose opiate therapy, the use of a speech pathology intervention, oral antibiotics and antidepressants. The success or otherwise of such interventions will be discussed. A number of approaches to deal with the problem of 'difficult to treat cough' will be considered.
    No preview · Article · May 2013 · Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
  • Source
    Article: Commentary.

    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chronic cough is the most common complaint during childhood. Various pathophysiologic mechanisms may cause cough. Knowledge of the mechanisms underlying chronic cough plays an important role in the choice of treatment to evaluate the role of leukotrienes in children with nonspecific isolated chronic dry cough. The patient group consisted of children with isolated chronic dry cough persisting for >4 weeks and the control group included healthy children. Medical histories were elicited and physical examinations were performed, then respiratory function testing was done and chest X-rays were obtained. Patients were given inhaled corticosteroid. The urine leukotriene E4 (uLTE4) levels in the patient and control groups was measured by enzyme immunoassay. The patient group included 55 patients, 25 of them were males between 6 and 12 years old. The control group included 25 healthy children between 6 and 12 years old, 12 of them were males. There were no pathologic findings on physical examinations, pulmonary function testing, and chest X-rays. The complaints of cough in 50 patients were resolved after treatment. The median level of uLTE4 was 73.1 ng/mmol creatinine (range, 15.59-787.55 ng/mmol creatinine) in the patient group, and 64.2 ng/mmol creatinine (range, 12-282 ng/mmol creatinine) in the control group. No significant difference was detected between the 2 groups with respect to age, gender, and uLTE4 levels. Different pathophysiologic mechanisms are known to influence nonspecific isolated chronic dry cough. Various mechanisms, other than leukotrienes, may also give rise to dry cough.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology
Show more