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How is cardiac cough different from common cough?

13 May 2020 | News | Cardiology | Therapy

What does cardiac cough mean? We know that coughing is a sign of disorder of the bronchopulmonary system. If a person suffers from cough, the cause may be bronchitis, pneumonia, and pulmonary tuberculosis. Few doctors suspect in this situation that a patient may have a heart problem. In fact, coughing may indicate heart failure. In that case it is called a cardiac cough.

Why does cardiac cough occur?
It is known that with the help of cough the body(organism) tries to protect itself, and it happens by the stimulation of cough receptors located in the bronchi. During the cardiac cough, such stimulation causes the pulmonary edema. The swelling develops due to a disturbance in the work of the heart - because of blood clots in the lungs. After all, it is the heart that provides blood supply to the small blood vessels that supply the bronchial system.

Which heart diseases cause cardiac cough?
The reason of this type of cough is the heart failure, which is typical of many cardiovascular system’s diseases and pathological conditions.

  • Heart attack,
  • angina pectoris, ischemic heart disease,
  • hypertension,
  • various arrhythmias,
  • myocarditis,
  • heart defects,
  • Mitral valve disease.

The cough caused by heart failure can also be the consequence of alcohol abuse, smoking, and constant stress.

Severe anemia, endocrine system abnormalities, and certain medications can contribute to cough.

How to distinguish cardiac cough from cough caused by cold or bronchial disease?

There are some signs that are typical for cardiac cough

  1. A cough caused by the heart problems is always without phlegm (or dry). Sometimes there are blood stains.
  2. Breathing becomes frequent during coughing, and shortness of breath is possible (so-called cardiac gasp).
  3. Besides coughing, the patient's lips, the area around the lips and fingers get bluish color (cyanosis).
  4. In the beginning, the cough occurs during significant physical activity, and later, when the patient's condition deteriorates, the cough occurs during quite a bit of tension, also intermittent breathing and shortness of breath occur.
  5. The cardiac cough intensifies in the patient's lying position
  6. Some pains appear in the heart region.
  7. The jugular veins swell.
  8. The general fatigue appears, fainting is possible.
  9. Swelling develops in the legs.

Some patients have more pronounced symptoms, the others - milder, some symptoms may be absent. Everything is conditioned with the primary cause of the cough, the severity of the patient's condition.

How cardiac cough is diagnosed?

Coughing can appear during various heart and vascular pathologies and diseases, therefore for the purpose of correct diagnostics, the doctor prescribes different investigations.

  1. Electrocardiography (ECG) shows ischemic changes, pathological enlargement of the heart sizes.
  2. Echocardiography allows to assess the changes in the heart muscle, development defects.
  3. X-ray of the chest organs shows the picture of the lungs, the changes typical of the stasis
  4. Cardiac MRI shows the structure of the heart, the condition of the vessels, the blood flow.

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