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Investigation of children with chronic nonspecific cough: Any clinical benefit of bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage?

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Chronic cough can be a complicated and frustrating diagnostic dilemma. The aim of this study was to identify the possible causes of chronic nonspecific cough in seemingly healthy children using fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FOB) and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Eighteen children responded to criteria of selection for chronic cough. The average age was 5.8 years (range, 1.7–10.7 years) and BAL findings were compared with those of 16 nonatopic controls. Children with chronic cough had an increased percentage of BAL neutrophils in comparison with the control group (p = 0.098). Using a BAL neutrophil percent cutoff of 17%, 6 children had high BAL neutrophils (HBNs; median, 77%; range, 27–96%) and 12 children had normal BAL neutrophils (NBNs; median, 3%; range, 0–13%). In the HBN group, FOB showed endoscopic abnormalities in four patients, BAL culture was positive in three patients, and chest x ray (CXRs) showed minimal densities in four. The IL-8 levels showed a significant increase with respect to the NBN group (p = 0.005). The combination of endoscopic anomalies, BAL culture, BAL IL-8 levels, and minor CXR changes can support the diagnosis of subclincal infection in seemingly healthy children with chronic nonspecific cough and HBN.

Keywords: Bronchoalveolar lavage; IL-8; chronic cough; fiberoptic bronchoscopy; infection; neutrophil; pediatrics

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Paediatrics, University of Padova, Padova, Italy 2: Institute of pathology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy 3: Institute of clinical biochemistry, University of Padova, Padova, Italy

Publication date: July 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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