Objective and Subjective Measurement of Cough in Asthma; A Systematic Review of the Literature

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BACKGROUND: The extent to which objective and subjective tools has been used to measure the characteristics and burden of cough in patients with asthma has not been reported.

OBJECTIVE: To review the large and extensive body of literature in asthma with the specific hypothesis that the characteristics of cough and clinical impact in this disease has only occasionally been studied.

METHODS: For this systematic review, we searched EMBASE and MEDLINE databases using a combination of MeSH terms for "cough" and "asthma" for studies published up to and including end of August 2021. Studies included for analysis were confined to those undertaken in adult patients (≥ 18 years) with asthma of any severity where any tool or method to specifically measure cough was employed.

RESULTS: Of 12,090 citations identified after our initial search, 112 full-text articles met criteria for inclusion in our analysis. We found that a broad range of objective and subjective measures have been used albeit with a lack of consistency between studies. Clinically important levels of cough associated with impaired health status were identified in patients with asthma.

CONCLUSION: Although cough is a common symptom in asthma, the clinical features and accompanying healthcare burden have been studied infrequently. In studies where cough was measured, the methods employed varied considerably. A more consistent use of cough-specific measurement tools is required to better determine the nature and burden of cough in asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-178
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022. The Author(s).


  • Adult
  • Asthma/complications
  • Cough/complications
  • Health Services
  • Health Status
  • Humans


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