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A longitudinal study of CPAP therapy for patients with chronic cough and obstructive sleep apnoea.

Cough 2013
BACKGROUND: Chronic cough patients are rendered therapies for gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD), upper airway cough syndrome (UACS) and cough-variant asthma (CVA) with varying benefit. Idiopathic or unexplained cough has emerged as an important clinical entity in both primary care and subspecialty clinics. Recent evidence points to a link between chronic cough and untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

METHODS: A prospective observational study was done to evaluate the effect of OSA therapy in patients with chronic cough. Patients enrolled into the study underwent questionnaires to evaluate for GERD, UACS and CVA along with screening questionnaires for OSA and daytime sleepiness. The Leicester cough questionnaire (LCQ) was done at baseline and during serial visits to evaluate cough intensity and was used as the primary outcome measure of the effect of CPAP therapy on chronic cough.

RESULTS: Out of 37 patients enrolled into the study, only 28 patients had follow up LCQ scores available and therefore underwent analysis. 22/28 patients were suspected to have OSA based on abnormal STOP-BANG screening questionnaire scores and overnight oximetry abnormalities. Of these 19/28 patients had overnight attended polysomnography with definitive diagnosis of OSA yielding a 68% prevalence of OSA in our chronic cough population. Chronic cough patients treated for OSA tended to be older with a significantly higher BMI than chronic cough patients without OSA. Significant improvement of LCQ scores occurred with CPAP therapy for OSA in chronic cough patients.

CONCLUSION: OSA is significantly prevalent in chronic cough patients. Subjects with chronic cough and OSA tend to be older and obese. Treatment of OSA in chronic cough patients yields significant improvement in their health status.

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