Management and referral patterns for new-onset chronic cough in primary care patients

Daina L. Ringus, Sylvia H. Li, Thanh Huyen T. Vu, Amina Guo, Selcen Yuksel, Rebecca S. Arch, Amee K. Patel, Gayatri B. Patel, Anju T. Peters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The diagnosis and management of chronic cough in primary care is challenging despite it being one of the most common chronic conditions. Objective: Clinical characterization of patients with new-onset chronic cough in the primary care setting. Methods: This was a retrospective study of adult patients (ages ≥ 18 years) with at least three visits with primary care providers (PCP) for new-onset cough, with at least 8 weeks between the first and third visits, within a tertiary-care center and affiliated clinics between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2019 (N = 174). We calculated the frequency of primary care visits, diagnostic testing, specialist referrals, and prescribed medications up to 18 months after the third visit with a PCP for cough. Results: Of 174 patients who met the criteria of new-onset chronic cough, >50% had four or more primary care visits related to cough. Despite that, 91 (52.3%) did not receive a referral to a specialist, and 41 (23.5%) did not receive an order for a chest radiograph during the evaluation of the chronic cough. Antibiotics and systemic corticosteroids were prescribed to 106 (61%) and 63 (36%) of the patients, respectively, and 20% were prescribed opiates. No patients were prescribed central-neuromodulating agents, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors were discontinued in 48% of the patients who were taking them (12/25). Conclusion: We found considerable heterogeneity and discrepancies with clinical guideline recommendations in patients who presented with new chronic cough. There is a substantial unmet need to study chronic cough in the primary care setting to inform important stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E72-E79
JournalAllergy and asthma proceedings
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Management and referral patterns for new-onset chronic cough in primary care patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this