World COPD Day: Chronic cough, a novel phenotype of COPD

A new study has suggested that chronic cough is not just a symptom of COPD; instead, it should be considered as an important phenotype during the determination of high-risk groups of patients with COPD, particularly with regard to future acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD).

The study published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease included 1,613 COPD patients, patients with chronic cough only, those with sputum only, those with chronic bronchitis and those without cough and sputum were compared with regard to dyspnea, lung function, quality of life (QoL) and risk of AECOPD.

Compared with patients without chronic cough, those with chronic cough had a lower forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) (% predicted) and diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide (DLCO) (% predicted), more severe dyspnea and worse QoL.

Chronic cough, and not chronic sputum, was also found to be an independent risk factor for future acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD). Hence, it is important to identify patients with chronic cough irrespective of sputum to identify the high-risk patients and evaluate the severity of disease to establish the prognosis.

(Source: Koo HK, Park SW, Park JW, et al. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2018 May 30;13:1793-1801)

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