Chronic Cough Clinic

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Chronic Cough Clinic

Chronic Cough Clinic

Cough lasting more than two months is typically classified as chronic cough. It is a common problem affecting almost 1 in every 10 Australian adults. A few typical examples of cough triggers may include ‘throat irritation’ or ‘post-nasal drip’ or ‘air-conditioned cold air’. The cause of cough is varied. The most frequent complaint is that coughing has persisted for months following a flu-like illness. The importance in identifying the correct diagnoses, which can often be an interplay of multiple causes is critical in the management of chronic cough.

What is chronic refractory cough?

Common causes of breathlessness include:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), sometimes called emphysema
  • Asthma
  • Ischemic Heart Disease
  • Heart failure
  • Chronic sinus or lung infection
  • Thoracic cage wall disease
  • Pleural disease


Cough persisting over two months, despite standard medical treatment causes of cough such as asthma, gastric reflux or rhinosinusitis is called chronic refractory cough. It can also be diagnosed when there is no obvious cause of cough identified following extensive medical assessment and investigations.

What are the common causes?

Chronic cough is often caused by the interplay of multiple conditions. Some common causes often include:

  • Asthma
  • Gastric reflux disease
  • Rhino-sinusitis
  • Current cigarette smoking
  • Medications – e.g. Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor
  • Respiratory tract infections – e.g. Pertussis or whooping cough
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea

Other chronic conditions that affect the heart such as heart failure, or lungs such as emphysema or bronchiectasis can also lead to persistent cough. Persistent and rigorous coughing efforts could also result in fractured ribs, fainting episodes, vocal cord damage, incontinence and excessive fatigue.

If I have chronic cough what should i do?

If you have any concerns about your cough, you should always see your local medical practitioner first.

Your doctor will review and arrange relevant tests to investigate your cough. Your doctor can refer you to the Woolcock Chronic Refractory Cough Multidisciplinary Clinic if your cough has not resolved following recommended medical treatment.


At the multi-disciplinary Woolcock Cough Clinic, available specialists that include a respiratory and sleep physician, an ear, nose and throat surgeon and a speech therapist work together to review patients with troubling cough at one convenient location. This approach brings together different expertise but complimentary skills, to deliver an integrated yet targeted treatment plan specific to patients’ needs.

Our experts: Dr Daniel Novakovic, Dr Wai Kuen Chow

Book an appointment

Please complete the form below and a member of our team will contact you shortly. Alternatively, call us on 02 9114 0000. Please ensure you have a referral from your doctor. To download a referral form, click here.

Please note that the Woolcock Clinic is a fee-charging clinic and fees are charged at the doctor’s discretion.

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