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PY Chow, DKK Ng
Correspondence: Dr Daniel K K Ng, email@example.com
Chronic cough, defined as coughing for more than four weeks, is a common childhood complaint. With careful history-taking and appropriate investigations, a single cause can be found in most cases--these can be successfully treated. Although we have some understanding about the cough reflex through animal studies, the full mechanism and exact location of the responsible neurons in the human brain have not been completely elucidated. There are many causes for it but asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis and gastroesophageal reflux disease account for most of the cases. Other causes, such as dysfunctional swallowing, congenital anomalies and cigarette smoking, are also important. All children with chronic cough deserve a thorough and proper evaluation. The current review provides essential information for medical practitioners to approach this problem. An algorithm is provided to aid the diagnostic process.
Keywords: children, cough, cough reflex, chronic cough
Singapore Med J 2004; 45(10): 462-469