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Patient Issues Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Jul 7, 2016 - 5:36:25 PM



Cough May Warn of Danger for Patients with Lung-Scarring Disease

By Staff Editor
Oct 18, 2011 - 12:47:27 PM



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(HealthNewsDigest.com) - A new analysis has found that coughing may signal trouble for patients with the lung-scarring disease known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The study, published in the journal Respirology, found that patients with the condition who also cough are more likely to develop advanced forms of the disease that may be life threatening.

When idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis develops, tissue deep in the lungs becomes thick and scarred, likely due to a response to an unknown substance. The condition affects approximately 100,000 individuals in the United States, and up to half die within three years of being diagnosed.

Almost all patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis experience shortness of breath. The second most common symptom is cough. Shortness of breath is a known warning sign that a patient has a serious form of the disease, but little is known about the importance of cough.To investigate, Christopher Ryerson, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and his colleagues studied 242 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. They found that cough was present in 84% of patients. It was more common in patients with advanced disease and in those who had never smoked. Also, the presence of cough predicted more rapid disease progression, regardless of the severity of a patient’s disease. The study’s findings indicate that the presence of cough may predict which patients are likely to die prematurely or need a lung transplant in the near future.

To investigate, Christopher Ryerson, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and his colleagues studied 242 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. They found that cough was present in 84% of patients. It was more common in patients with advanced disease and in those who had never smoked. Also, the presence of cough predicted more rapid disease progression, regardless of the severity of a patient’s disease. The study’s findings indicate that the presence of cough may predict which patients are likely to die prematurely or need a lung transplant in the near future.

The authors concluded that patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis who cough may have a worse prognosis compared with patients who do not cough. While additional studies are needed to validate the results, patients who cough may benefit from closer monitoring and more aggressive treatments.

“These findings improve our understanding of cough in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis,” said Dr. Ryerson. “The reason for the association between cough and never having smoked is unknown, but may provide insight into the pathogenesis of cough in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and thus prompt future research in this area,” he added.

This study is published in the journal Respirology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact [email protected]
Full citation: Ryerson et et al. Cough predicts prognosis in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Respirology 2011. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2011.01996.x .
URL: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/j.1440-1843.2011.01996.x

About the Author: Dr. Ryerson is affiliated with the University of British Columbia.
To arrange an interview with Dr. Ryerson, please email [email protected]

About the Journal
Respirology is a journal of international standing, publishing peer-reviewed articles of scientific excellence in clinical and experimental respiratory biology and disease and its related fields of research including thoracic surgery, internal medicine, immunology, intensive and critical care, epidemiology, cell and molecular biology, pathology, pharmacology, physiology and pediatric respiratory medicine. For more information about the journal, please visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1440-1843.

About Wiley-Blackwell
Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world’s leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit www.wileyblackwell.com or our new online platform, Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), one of the world’s most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health, social and physical sciences, and humanities.

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