THURSDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Children who have a chronic moist cough provide clinicians with the best clues for diagnosing the cause of the cough, researchers report in the August issue of Thorax.
Julie M. Marchant, M.D., of Royal Children's Hospital in Queensland, Australia, and colleagues studied data on 100 children with a median age of 2.8 years referred to a hospital between June 2002 and July 2004 for a chronic cough of more than three weeks' duration.
The researchers found that moist cough occurring during an office visit best helped pinpoint the specific cause of the child's cough (odds ratio 9.34), followed by chest examination (OR, 3.60) and chest X-ray anomalies (OR, 3.16). A parent's own history of moist cough was the most significant historical pointer for predicting the cause of the cough.
"The most useful clinical marker in predicting specific cough is the presence of a daily moist cough," the authors write. "Both chest examination and chest radiographic abnormalities are also useful in predicting whether children have a specific cause of their cough."