Introduction: Chronic, persistent cough is a common clinical problem, the cause of which sometimes remains unidentifiable.
Aims: To study a potential association between Helicobacter pylori infection and chronic, persistent cough.
Materials and methods: A clinical observational study with symptom analysis, including 162 patients whose main presenting complaint was chronic, persistent cough of unidentifiable cause (study group) and 42 patients with chronic, non-specific laryngopharyngeal manifestations not including chronic cough (control group).
Results: Active H pylori infection was present in 86.4 per cent (140/162) of patients in the chronic cough group, as opposed to 45.2 per cent (19/42) of the control group, as confirmed by detection of H pylori antigen in stool specimens. This difference was statistically significant (p<0.001). There was a significant improvement of the chronic cough of 75.4 per cent (98/130) of patients after successful H pylori eradication using appropriate medical therapy (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Helicobacter pylori infection may lead to laryngopharyngeal irritation, with several clinical manifestations including chronic, persistent cough. However, the exact mechanism of this requires further research.