Burden of chronic cough in the UK: results from the 2018 National Health and Wellness Survey

Lorcan McGarvey*, Alyn H. Morice, Ashley Martin, Vicky W. Li, Michael J. Doane, Eduardo Urdaneta, Jonathan Schelfhout, Helen Ding, Eileen Fonseca

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background Chronic cough, defined as daily cough for at least 8 weeks, negatively affects quality of life and work productivity and increases healthcare resource utilisation. We aimed to determine the prevalence and burden of chronic cough in the UK.

Methods Study participants were general population respondents to the 2018 UK National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS). Respondents completed survey questions relating to health, quality of life, work productivity and activity impairment, and use of healthcare resources. Prevalence estimates were projected to the UK population using post-stratification sampling weights to adjust for sampling bias. The population with chronic cough was matched 1:3 with a group without chronic cough, using propensity score matchingon age, sex and the modified Charlson Comorbidity Index.

Results Of 15 000 NHWS respondents, 715 reported chronic cough in the previous 12 months and 918 during their lifetime. Weighted to the UK adult population, the 12-month prevalence of chronic cough was 4.9% and lifetime prevalence was 6.2%. Prevalence of chronic cough was higher among older respondents and those with smoking histories. Chronic cough respondents experienced higher rates of severe anxiety and depression in the past 2 weeks than matched controls. Poor sleep quality and loss of work productivity were also observed. More chronic cough respondents visited a healthcare provider in the past 6 months than respondents without chronic cough with a mean of 5.8 and 3.7 visits per respondent, respectively.

Conclusion Adults with chronic cough report lower quality of life, reduced work productivity and greater healthcare resource utilisation than matched controls without chronic cough.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalERJ Open Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2023

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