Prevalence of chronic cough and possible causes in the general population based on the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Hyeon Kyoung Koo, Ina Jeong, Sei Won Lee, Jinkyeong Park, Joo Hee Kim, So Young Park, Hye Yun Park, Chin Kook Rhee, Yee Hyung Kim, Ji Ye Jung, Sung Kyoung Kim, Yong Hyun Kim, Eun Young Choi, Ji Yong Moon, Jong Wook Shin, Jin Woo Kim, Kyung Hoon Min, Sei Won Kim, Kwang Ha Yoo, Je Hyeong KimSeung Hun Jang, Hyoung Kyu Yoon, Hui Jung Kim, Ki Suck Jung, Deog Kyeom Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Although chronic cough is very common, its prevalence and causes have been rarely reported in the large general population including smokers. This study aimed to identify the prevalence of possible causes of chronic cough and their clinical impact. From Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) data including 119,280 adults aged over 40 years, 302 individuals with chronic cough were recruited irrespective of smoking status. Data from questionnaire, laboratory tests including spirometry, chest radiographs, and otorhinolaryngologic examination were analyzed. The prevalence of chronic cough in adults was 2.5%±0.2%. Current smokers occupied 47.7%±3.8% of study population and 46.8%±3.9% of the subjects showed upper airway cough syndrome (UACS). Based on spirometry, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was identified in 26.4%±3.5%. Asthma explained for 14.5%±2.8% of chronic cough. Only 4.1%±1.6% showed chronic laryngitis suggesting gastro-esophageal reflux-related cough. Abnormalities on chest radiography were found in 4.0%± 1.2%. Interestingly, 50.3%±4.5% of study subjects had coexisting causes. In multivariate analysis, only current smoking (odds ratio [OR] 3.16, P<0.001), UACS (OR 2.50, P<0.001), COPD (OR 2.41, P<0.001), asthma (OR 8.89, P<0.001), and chest radiographic abnormalities (OR 2.74, P=0.003) were independent risk factor for chronic cough. This pattern was not different according to smoking status excepting the prevalence of COPD. Smoking, COPD, and chest radiographic abnormalities should be considered as causes of chronic cough, along with UACS and asthma. Gastro-esophageal reflux-related cough is not prevalent in study population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4595
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number37
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 the Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • COPD
  • Chronic cough
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking
  • Upper airway cough syndrome


Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence of chronic cough and possible causes in the general population based on the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this