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Symptoms » Cough » Diagnostic Tests

Diagnostic Tests for Cough

Diagnostic Test list for Cough:

The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Cough includes:

  • Physical examination
    • Inspect sputum for color and consistency if possible
    • Examine lymph nodes looking for enlarged cervical or Axillary lymph nodes which may indicate lung cancer
    • Examine for Horner's syndrome - e.g. dilated pupil and drooping of the upper eyelid which may indicate lung cancer.
    • Examine for possible causes of postnasal drip - e.g. sinusitis, ear infection, nasal polyps.
    • Examine lungs noting breath sounds and their intensity and also the presence of added sounds
    • Examine cardiovascular system for evidence of left ventricular failure
    • Examine or enlarged liver and spleen - which may suggest a systemic disease involving the lungs e.g. polyarteritis nodosa, sarcoidosis.
  • Blood tests
    • Full blood count - for evidence of infection, anemia or cell changes with asthma.
    • ESR - may be elevated with any bacterial chest infection, bronchiectasis, tuberculosis, lung abscess or lung cancer).
    • Serology for atypical pneumonia organisms - e.g. mycoplasma, chlamydia and pertussis.
    • Blood cultures - if fever is present.
  • Sputum microscopy and culture
  • Sputum culture for acid fast bacilli to rule out tuberculosis if suspected
  • Lung function tests - can help distinguish between obstructive lung disease e.g. asthma, emphysema and bronchitis and restrictive lung disease e.g. pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Skin prick allergy testing may be valuable in asthma
  • Radiological investigations
    • Chest X-Ray - can show many lung problems and show signs of left ventricular heart failure e.g. enlarged heart.
    • Sinus X-Ray or CT scan - to pick up sinusitis which may case post-nasal drip and chronic cough.
    • CT scan or MRI scan of chest - more sensitive then chest X-Ray, used to further characterize abnormalities found on Chest X-Ray.
    • Barium swallow - can detect gastro-esophageal reflux, esophageal diverticulum.
    • Echocardiogram - may be required to diagnose left ventricular failure.
  • Fiberoptic Bronchoscopy with or without lung biopsy - may detect lung cancer, bronchiectasis, foreign body, chronic fibrotic lung disease.
  • Esophageal pH monitoring - may be required to diagnose gastro-esophageal reflux.
  • Tuberculin skin test - may diagnose tuberculosis, but misleading if previous BCG vaccination.

Home Diagnostic Testing

These home medical tests may be relevant to Cough causes:

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Cough:

The following list of conditions have 'Cough' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Cough or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Cough:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Cough' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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