Cough is one of the most common complaints encountered in every setting, however, complications associated with coughing have received relatively little attention. An exhaustive systematic review of the English literature revealed an exceedingly large and varied spectrum of cough-induced complications affecting many systems including upper airways, chest wall and thorax, abdominal wall, heart and aorta, central nervous system, eye, gastrointestinal tract, urogenital system, and emotional and psychological harm. Prospective studies and prevalence data are conspicuously missing. Reported cough-induced pathology ranges from rare (the majority) to common and from trivial (e.g. lightheadedness, subconjunctival hemorrhage) to severe and life-threatening (e.g. cervical artery dissection, rupture of a normal spleen). Other seemingly benign entities may mask a serious underlying pathology (e.g. cough headache, cough syncope). A substantial proportion of patients experience anxiety, insomnia and their quality of life is affected. Thus, the wide spectrum of cough-induced pathology need to be recognized and considered in patients complaining of cough. Suppression of cough must not be neglected in patients at risk, and areas of uncertainty need to be clarified by future prospective studies.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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