The Spectrum of Non-asthmatic Airway Diseases Contributing to Cough in the Adult

  • Sidney S. BramanEmail author
  • Armeen Poor
Chronic Cough (K Altman, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Chronic Cough


Purpose of Review

Cough becomes a pathologic reflex when the airways are inflamed and overwhelmed with excessive mucus. The goal of this review is to discuss acute and chronic cough syndromes caused by non-asthmatic airway diseases.

Recent Findings

Acute cough syndrome is short-lived and self-limited. Acute bronchitis and diffuse acute infectious bronchiolitis (DAIB) are examples. The former is usually caused by a viral illness; the latter by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, influenza, and Haemophilus influenzae. Causes of chronic cough in the adult include chronic bronchitis, non-infectious bronchiolitis, and non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis.


Supportive measures are recommended for acute bronchitis and antibiotic use is discouraged. Antibiotics may be needed for DAIB. Smoking cessation and bronchodilators can control cough in chronic bronchitis. Therapeutic approaches for non-infectious bronchiolitis depend on the varied etiology. The hallmark of bronchiectasis is a chronic infection of the airways, and antibiotics, mucus clearance measures, and bronchodilators are all supportive.


Acute bronchitis Acute bronchiolitis Chronic cough Chronic bronchitis Non-infectious bronchiolitis Bronchiectasis 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Icahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Pulmonary and Critical Care MedicineIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA

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