Pneumologie 2010; 64(11): 701-711
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1255526

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Guidelines of the German Respiratory Society for Diagnosis and Treatment of Adults Suffering from Acute or Chronic Cough

P.  Kardos1 , H.  Berck2 , K.-H.  Fuchs3 , A.  Gillissen4 , L.  Klimek5 , H.  Morr6 , D.  Pfeiffer-Kascha7 , G.  Schultze-Werninghaus8 , H.  Sitter9 , T.  Voshaar10 , H.  Worth11
  • 1Group Practice & Allergy, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Centre, Red Cross Maingau Hospital, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • 2Patients Airway League, Dienheim, Germany
  • 3Markus Krankenhaus, Department of Surgery, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • 4St. George Medical Center, Robert-Koch-Hospital, Leipzig, Germany
  • 5Center for Rhinology and Allergology Heidelberg University, Mannheim Faculty of Medicine, Wiesbaden, Germany
  • 6Nassaustraße 15, Weilburg, Germany
  • 7Physiotherapy Clinic S. Röske, Wuppertal, Germany
  • 8Occupational Accident Insurance, Bergmannsheil, University Hospital, Department of Internal Medicine III, Pneumology, Allergology, and Sleep Medicine, Bochum, Germany
  • 9Institute of Surgical Research, Philipps-University Marburg, Germany
  • 10Hospital Bethanien, Pulmonology, Allergy, Sleep Medicine Moers, Germany
  • 11Hospital Fürth, University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Fürth, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
06 August 2010 (online)


The first set of German guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from acute or chronic cough was published in 2004. Scientific developments over the past five years necessitate an update.
The purpose of this document is to assist in ascertaining underlying causes and treating cough, in order to eliminate or minimize impairments of patients’ health.
The guidelines aim to introduce scientifically founded, evidence-based steps for the diagnosis and treatment of cough and optimize cost-effectiveness. Recommendations are assessed through the GRADE system (The Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation).
Cough as a symptom is categorized as either acute (lasting up to 8 weeks) or chronic (lasting more than 8 weeks) and attributed to distinct diseases. For acute and chronic cough the diagnostic algorithms are updated; cost effectiveness is also taken into account. Additionally, the most frequent diagnostic errors are highlighted. Finally, available therapeutic options are discussed.


1 The evidence tables were published in German on the AWMF website

Dr. med. Peter Kardos

Scheffelstraße 33
60318 Frankfurt am Main