Frequency of protracted bacterial bronchitis and management pre-respiratory referral

Gloria T.Y. Lau, Pamela Laird, Paul G. Stevenson, Andre Schultz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To determine the frequency of protracted bacterial bronchitis (PBB) in children referred to tertiary care with chronic cough and describe management prior to referral. Methods: A retrospective cohort study of all new patients with a history of ≥4 weeks of cough seen at the only tertiary paediatric outpatient respiratory service in Western Australia between July 2018 and June 2019. Medical records were reviewed until a final diagnosis was documented or otherwise for a period of 18 months. Results: PBB was the most common cause and comprised 37.9% of all children referred to tertiary respiratory care with chronic cough. In children with PBB, the median cough duration at the time of first specialist review was 5.1 months (IQR 2.1–12.0 months). The most common referral source of PBB was primary practice (40.9%) and the most common working diagnosis pre-referral was asthma (15.9%). Seventy-eight percent of children with PBB had an ongoing cough at their first respiratory review, and of these, only 13.5% had been prescribed 4 weeks of antibiotics prior to their respiratory review. Asthma treatment had been prescribed for 34.0% of children with PBB. Conclusion: PBB is the most common cause of chronic cough in children referred to tertiary respiratory care and is frequently misdiagnosed and undertreated pre-referral. There is a need to facilitate diagnosis and optimal management of PBB in primary care, which could result in earlier symptom resolution and potentially limit disease progression to bronchiectasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number1
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


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