Impact of Cough and Unmet Needs in Chronic Cough: A Survey of Patients in Korea

Sung Yoon Kang, Ha Kyeong Won, Sang Min Lee, Jae Woo Kwon, Min Hye Kim, Eun Jung Jo, Seung Eun Lee, Sae Hoon Kim, Yoon Seok Chang, Sang Pyo Lee, Byung Jae Lee, Sang Heon Cho, Surinder S. Birring, Woo Jung Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Purpose: Chronic cough is a common problem in various populations. The present study assessed the impact of cough and unmet needs in Korean patients with chronic cough. Methods: This cross-sectional multi-center study enrolled adult patients newly referred to clinic for assessment of chronic cough. A second group of patients with unexplained chronic cough following detailed assessment were recruited for comparison. Patients completed self-reported questionnaires, including cough characteristics, impact of cough on daily life, and unmet needs. Results: A total of 447 subjects were recruited from six referral clinics, including 408 with chronic cough and 39 with unexplained chronic cough. Almost all patients reported that cough impacted their daily lives. Psychosocial impacts were more evident in unexplained cough patients compared to newly referred patients. Approximately 75% of newly referred patients had previously sought medical care for cough on multiple occasions, but the effectiveness of treatment was limited (70.3%) or absent (17.3%). The most frequent unmet need was the ineffectiveness of treatment (49.3%), followed by unclear diagnosis (30.1%). The majority of participants (> 80%) expressed the need for further information on accessing cough specialists and disease management. The main problem faced by unexplained cough patients was poor cough control despite treatment (64%). Conclusions: Chronic cough has a substantial impact on daily life and is worst in those whose cough remains unexplained following assessment. Ineffectiveness of treatment and unclear diagnosis were major unmet needs. Medical information about chronic cough was also lacking. Improvements in the management of chronic cough patients in Korea are necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-639
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Chronic cough
  • Quality of life
  • Questionnaire survey
  • Unmet needs


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