Chronic cough: Improved primary care could avoid specialist referral

Post date: Apr 2, 2016 8:39:34 AM

UK researchers suggest most cases of chronic cough currently referred to specialists could be dealt with by GPs using existing guidelines. Richard Turner and Graham Bothamley of the Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, assessed the primary care management of patients referred to their clinic with isolated chronic coughs. Among 266 patients who returned for follow-up, only 21% had undergone simple spirometry tests and 86% had had chest X-rays. Only 39% had been given corticosteroids to rule out asthma, the most common diagnosis among the study participants. The authors estimate 87% of the cases could have been dealt with by GPs. They say improved primary care awareness and application of existing guidelines for chronic cough management could lead to quicker resolution of symptoms and lower healthcare costs.

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