COSMIN database

Validated methods of cough assessment: a systematic review of the literature

Leconte, S., Ferrant, D., Dory, V., and Degryse, J.
BACKGROUND: Cough is a common symptom for which patients often seek medical advice and consume vast amounts of drugs. It is a real challenge for both the physician and the clinical researcher to evaluate a cough's clinical importance and its precise response to treatment.

OBJECTIVES: This systematic literature review has the following objectives: first, to make an inventory of the validated tools for assessing cough, and second, to investigate the extent to which the results of various assessment methods can be correlated.

METHODS: Two independent investigators searched the Medline, Embase, and Cochrane databases for validation studies on cough assessment tools.

RESULTS: Thirty-four studies were included. Several ambulatory cough monitors automatically identify cough and have been validated in a limited number of patients. Three cough-specific quality-of-life scales (Leicester Cough Questionnaire, Cough Quality of Life Questionnaire, and Burden of Cough Questionnaire) have been validated. No validation studies of descriptive scores or visual analogue scales were found. The correlations between quality-of-life scores and cough frequency were good. The correlations between descriptive scores or visual analogue scales and more objective methods, such as cough frequency monitoring or quality-of-life scores, were inconsistent.

CONCLUSION: Cough-specific quality-of-life questionnaires can provide valid outcomes for research into cough. Although the current developments in cough monitoring devices are promising, further studies on a larger scale, under more realistic conditions, and for different patterns of cough are required before they can be recommended for widespread use.
1423-0356 (Electronic)
Publication year:
Biological and physiological variables:
Biological and physiological variables
Symptom status:
Physical state
General health perceptions / HRQoL:
Health-related quality of life
Adults (18-65)
Children (0-18)
Seniors (65+)
Diseases of and symptoms related to the respiratory system
Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified
PRO / non-PRO:
Non-patient Reported Outcome
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
4 - Performance-based tests
5 - Videos
7 - Observations
9 - Laboratory tests
Accelerometry [alias: accelerometer]
Audio recording (digital)
Burden of Cough Questionnaire
CQLQ - Cough Quality of Life Questionnaire [alias: Cough-specific Quality of Life Questionnaire]
European Quality of life Scale
Hull Automatic Cough Counter
Italian Scale
Italian score of Quality of Life
LCM - Leicester Cough Monitor
LCQ - Leicester Cough Questionnaire
LifeShirt (combination of plethysmography, ECG, and EMG)
LR100 (EMG + audio signal) also Modified LR100
VAS - Visual Analogue Scale   
VDS - Verbal Descriptor Scale