Effectiveness of a cough management algorithm at the transitional phase from acute to chronic cough in Australian children aged <15 years: Protocol for a randomised controlled trial

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O'Grady, Kerry-Ann F
Grimwood, Keith
Toombs, Maree
Sloots, Theo P
Otim, Michael
Whiley, David
Anderson, Jennie
Rablin, Sheree
Torzillo, Paul J
Buntain, Helen
Connor, Anne
Adsett, Don
Kar, Oon Meng
Chang, Anne B
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Introduction: Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are leading causes of hospitalisation in Australian children and, if recurrent, are associated with increased risk of chronic pulmonary disorders later in life. Chronic (>4 weeks) cough in children following ARI is associated with decreased quality-of-life scores and increased health and societal economic costs. We will determine whether a validated evidence-based cough algorithm, initiated when chronic cough is first diagnosed after presentation with ARI, improves clinical outcomes in children compared with usual care.

Methods and analysis: A multicentre, parallel group, open-label, randomised controlled trial, nested within a prospective cohort study in Southeast Queensland, Australia, is underway. 750 children aged <15 years will be enrolled and followed weekly for 8 weeks after presenting with an ARI with cough. 214 children from this cohort with persistent cough at day 28 will be randomised to either early initiation of a cough management algorithm or usual care (107 per group). Randomisation is stratified by reason for presentation, site and total cough duration at day 28 (<6 and ≥6 weeks). Demographic details, risk factors, clinical histories, examination findings, cost-of-illness data, an anterior nasal swab and parent and child exhaled carbon monoxide levels (when age appropriate) are collected at enrolment. Weekly contacts will collect cough status and cost-of-illness data. Additional nasal swabs are collected at days 28 and 56. The primary outcome is time-to-cough resolution. Secondary outcomes include direct and indirect costs of illness and the predictors of chronic cough postpresentation.

Ethics and dissemination: The Children's Health Queensland (HREC/15/QRCH/15) and the Queensland University of Technology University (1500000132) Research Ethics Committees have approved the study. The study will inform best-practice management of cough in children.

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© 2017 The Author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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