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Gastro-oesophageal reflux events: just another trigger in chronic cough?
  1. L A Houghton1,2,3,
  2. J A Smith4
  1. 1Leeds Institute of Biomedical & Clinical Sciences, University of Leeds, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK
  2. 2Centre for Gastrointestinal Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  3. 3Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, USA
  4. 4Division of Infection Immunity and Respiratory Medicine, School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor L A Houghton, Leeds Institute of Biomedical & Clinical Sciences, Clinical Sciences Building, St James's University Hospital, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK; L.A.Houghton{at}

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GORD is considered a common cause of chronic cough, either alone or in association with nasal disease and/or asthma.1 This, along with the fact that there are currently no specific therapies approved for the treatment of chronic cough, has led to extensive use of acid suppressants, such that one US study in patients with extraoesophageal manifestations of GORD, of which 50% had cough, estimated costs to be four to five times those associated with their use in typical GORD.2 Despite this widespread use, a significant proportion of patients with chronic cough thought to be due to GORD remain refractory to acid suppression. Indeed, multiple studies and meta-analyses have failed to document a therapeutic benefit of acid suppression in chronic cough.3

A growing number of studies suggest that in 30%–48% of patients, coughing episodes seem to be temporally linked to reflux events, irrespective of their acidity or the presence of other conditions contributing to coughing.1 ,4 ,5 Notably, patients exhibiting such associations, that is, a positive symptom association probability (SAP) for cough preceded by reflux (SAPR-C), appear to have no more erosive disease or oesophageal exposure to reflux, with little reaching the proximal oesophagus, than those with a negative SAPR-C.5 SAPR-C-positive patients, however, do have a heightened cough …

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  • Contributors JAS and LAH contributed equally to the writing of this manuscript.

  • Competing interests JAS is a named inventor on a patent, owned by University Hospital of South Manchester, describing a method for cough detection and monitoring licensed to Vitalograph; however, no financial benefits have been received. Afferent Pharmaceuticals paid staff cost for conduct of study (ref. 10) to the University Hospital of South Manchester and University of Manchester.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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