pp 1–5 | Cite as

Impact of Cough and Unmet Needs in Chronic Cough: A Survey of Patients in Korea

  • Sung-Yoon Kang
  • Ha-Kyeong Won
  • Sang Min Lee
  • Jae-Woo Kwon
  • Min-Hye Kim
  • Eun-Jung Jo
  • Seung-Eun Lee
  • Sae-Hoon Kim
  • Yoon-Seok Chang
  • Sang Pyo Lee
  • Byung-Jae Lee
  • Sang-Heon Cho
  • Surinder S. Birring
  • Woo-Jung SongEmail author



Chronic cough is a common problem in various populations. The present study assessed the impact of cough and unmet needs in Korean patients with chronic cough.


This cross-sectional multi-center study enrolled adult patients newly referred to clinic for assessment of chronic cough. A second group of patients with unexplained chronic cough following detailed assessment were recruited for comparison. Patients completed self-reported questionnaires, including cough characteristics, impact of cough on daily life, and unmet needs.


A total of 447 subjects were recruited from six referral clinics, including 408 with chronic cough and 39 with unexplained chronic cough. Almost all patients reported that cough impacted their daily lives. Psychosocial impacts were more evident in unexplained cough patients compared to newly referred patients. Approximately 75% of newly referred patients had previously sought medical care for cough on multiple occasions, but the effectiveness of treatment was limited (70.3%) or absent (17.3%). The most frequent unmet need was the ineffectiveness of treatment (49.3%), followed by unclear diagnosis (30.1%). The majority of participants ( > 80%) expressed the need for further information on accessing cough specialists and disease management. The main problem faced by unexplained cough patients was poor cough control despite treatment (64%).


Chronic cough has a substantial impact on daily life and is worst in those whose cough remains unexplained following assessment. Ineffectiveness of treatment and unclear diagnosis were major unmet needs. Medical information about chronic cough was also lacking. Improvements in the management of chronic cough patients in Korea are necessary.


Chronic cough Quality of life Unmet needs Questionnaire survey 




Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineGachon University Gil Medical CenterIncheonKorea
  2. 2.Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Asan Medical CenterUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulKorea
  3. 3.Department of Internal MedicineKangwon National University School of MedicineChuncheonKorea
  4. 4.Department of Internal MedicineCollege of Medicine, Ewha Womans UniversitySeoulKorea
  5. 5.Department of Internal MedicinePusan National University HospitalBusanKorea
  6. 6.Department of Internal MedicinePusan National University Yangsan HospitalYangsanKorea
  7. 7.Department of Internal MedicineSeoul National University Bundang HospitalSeongnamKorea
  8. 8.Division of Allergy, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulKorea
  9. 9.Department of Internal MedicineSeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulKorea
  10. 10.Centre for Human & Applied Physiological Sciences, School of Basic & Medical Biosciences, Faculty of Life Sciences & MedicineKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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