Chronic Cough as the Presenting Symptom of Hydrocephalus

Selmin Karatayli-Ozgursoy, MD; Jacob Dominik, MD; Benjamin Eidelman, MD; Juan C. Guarderas, MD

Disclosures

South Med J. 2010;103(6):574-577. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Chronic cough is defined as a daily cough lasting for more than eight weeks. We report an unusual case of chronic cough as the primary manifestation of obstructive hydrocephalus. Chronic cough in our case was determined to be of neurogenic origin only after exhaustive investigations failed to reveal a systemic cause, and, in particular, after a positive response to treatment of the hydrocephalus was observed. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of hydrocephalus presenting as chronic cough. We believe this case will remind physicians of the importance of considering neurological disease as a cause of chronic cough after common causes are excluded.

Introduction

Patients with a chronic cough are frequently encountered in the daily practice of internists, general practitioners, and otorhinolaryngologists. Chronic cough is defined as a daily cough lasting for more than eight weeks. The medical literature lists many causes of chronic cough. Common causes are those related to nasal and sinus disease, problems in the throat, various pulmonary conditions, and diseases of the upper gastrointestinal tract, especially gastroesophageal reflux disease. Only rarely can one find a report of neurological disease as a cause of chronic cough.[1]

We report an unusual case of chronic cough as the primary manifestation of obstructive hydrocephalus. This condition may be complicated by neurological disturbances in the form of cognitive decline and gait disturbance, along with other impairments. To our knowledge, this is the first report of hydrocephalus presenting as chronic cough.

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