Chronic Cough: Evaluation of Patients' Success in Completing Cough Suppression Therapy

Published:October 28, 2022DOI:



      Chronic cough is highly prevalent amongst many patients in the US. Behavioral interventions with speech-language pathologists (SLP) can improve quality of life but require patient-centered motivation, therapy attendance, and compliance with therapy techniques. Previous studies have shown the internal factors of self-efficacy and goal commitment are integral to patient motivation to pursue cough suppression therapy (CST). In this observational study, the authors aim to identify the motivational factors that prompt patients’ progression from the contemplation to action stage of change and attend cough suppression therapy.


      A retrospective chart review was performed on patients > 18 years presenting to a tertiary care laryngology clinic with chronic cough. The patients were previously surveyed between February 2021-July 2021 to determine motivational factors for attending CST. Patient compliance with CST was identified (yes/no) as well as the number of visits and cough severity index (CSI) at therapy, if available.


      Thirty-five patients were identified with ages ranging from 33-76 (mean 57.6 years, SD: 12.3). The majority were female (n=25) with a mean presenting CSI of 19.9 (10.3). After expressing intent, 71% of patients entered the action phase of change and attended CST with an average improvement in CSI of 4.4.


      The most common motivational factors overall were cough bothersome to self and desire for cough to improve, however, the extrinsic motivation of cough bothersome to others was more often reported by those attending therapy. Understanding patients’ motivations to participate in CST may be useful when assessing candidacy and helping patients remain in the action stage required for success in behavioral therapy.

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