Child's Coughing Can Lead to Many Doctor Visits

August 14, 2008

Pediatric chronic cough was associated with repeated doctor visits and parental stress, though parental worries decreased when children ceased coughing, researchers report in the August issue of Chest.

THURSDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Pediatric chronic cough was associated with repeated doctor visits and parental stress, though parental worries decreased when children ceased coughing, researchers report in the August issue of Chest.

Julie M. Marchant, of the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues analyzed data from 190 children presenting with chronic cough whose parents answered questionnaires on burden of cough, parental distress and child anxiety. Seventy-nine parents also completed these surveys at follow-up.

More than 80 percent of children had at least five doctor visits and 53 percent had more than 10 visits in the previous 12 months, the researchers found. At presentation, burden scores when the child was coughing correlated with parental scores on the depression, anxiety and stress scale (DASS). Scores on the DASS subscales fell when the children stopped coughing, the report indicates.

"Our study has shown that the impact of chronic cough in children is significant for parents. We have identified not only the high number of doctor visits, but also the many different medical specialties parents have sought to address their child's chronic cough. We have also described the significant worries, concerns and stress in parents of children with chronic cough that impact on their reported burden of illness," the authors write. "This study also highlights the need to improve the management of children with chronic cough, including clinicians being cognizant of the emotional distress of parents and addressing this early in the consultative process."

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