Q. How to go about the treatment in a patient with chronic cough?

Answered by
Dr. Amolkumar W Diwan
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 23, 2016 and last reviewed on: May 06, 2019

Hi doctor,

My mother underwent gallbladder surgery 10 months ago. From past 3 months she started having chronic cough. She tried many home remedies. She did not recover completely. I took my mother recently for a health checkup. As I suspected the chest report was not absolutely fine. But, the doctor was not at all concerned about her cough and said everything is normal. Why is it so? I want to know what is the meaning of this x- ray report and what should be our next step? Presently she is under medication for thyroid as well as diabetes. I have attached her reports. Kindly have a look at them and suggest how to go about the treatment. Thank you.



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As you said your mother is having chronic cough 4 months after surgery. It can be just coincidental finding as her x-ray (attachment removed to protect patient identity) is showing prominent basal vascular markings and cough can be aggravated by surgery.

The x-ray findings are suggestive of interstitial lung disease called lung fibrosis which can be confirmed only after HRCT (high-resolution computed tomography) scan of chest.

So at the earliest, I advise you to do HRCT scan of chest to rule out IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis). Once the diagnosis is made, treatment can be started accordingly.

IPF or lung fibrosis is a chronic and progressive condition. So, diagnosis should be made as early as possible.Talk to your pulmonologist regarding further investigations and treatment. He will guide you better as frequent follow-up visits are required for monitoring the disease.

The Probable causes:


Investigations to be done:

HRCT chest to rule out IPF.

Differential diagnosis:

Interstitial pneumonia.

Probable diagnosis:

IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis).

Treatment plan:

1. Steroids
2. Immunosuppressants.

Preventive measures:

Strict control of BP and blood sugar is a must.

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