Airway obstruction and bronchodilator responsiveness in adults with acute cough

Saskia van Vugt, Lidewij Broekhuizen, Nicolaas Zuithoff, Christopher Butler, Kerenza Hood, Samuel Coenen, Herman Goossens, Paul Little, Jordi Almirall, Francesco Blasi, Slawomir Chlabicz, Mel Davies, Maciek Godycki-Cwirko, Helena Hupkova, Janko Kersnik, Michael Moore, Tom Schaberg, An de Sutter, Antoni Torres, Theo Verheij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE We sought to determine the prevalence of airway obstruction and bronchodilator responsiveness in adults consulting for acute cough in primary care. METHODS Family physicians recruited 3,105 adult patients with acute cough (28 days or shorter) attending primary care practices in 12 European countries. After exclusion of patients with preexisting physician-diagnosed asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), we undertook complete case analysis of spirometry results (n = 1,947) 28 to 35 days after inclusion. Bronchodilator responsiveness was diagnosed if there were recurrent complaints of wheezing, cough, or dyspnea and an increase of the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV 1) of 12% or more after bronchodilation. Airway obstruction was diagnosed according to 2 thresholds for the (postbronchodilator) ratio of FEV 1 to forced vital capacity (FEV 1:FVC): less than 0.7 and less than the lower limit of normal. RESULTS There were 240 participants who showed bronchodilator responsiveness (12%), 193 (10%) had a FEV 1/FVC ratio of less than 0.7, and 126 (6%) had a ratio of less than the lower limit of normal. Spearman's correlation between the 2 definitions of obstruction was 0.71 (P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-529
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Family Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Acute cough
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Primary health care
  • Spirometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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