Mnemonic for different causes of cough: GREAT BAD CAT TOM

This is a mnemonic for differential diagnosis of cough:

Bronchitis or pneumonia
Drugs, e.g. ACEi

Cardiogenic, e.g. mitral stenosis
Aspiration, e.g foreign body in children, achalasia in adults

Thyroid enlargement, e.g. goiter
Other, e.g. GERD, PE
Malignancy, e.g. lung cancer

Differential diagnosis of cough, a simple mnemonic is GREAT BAD CAT TOM. Click here to enlarge the image: (GERD (reflux), Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR), Rhinitis (both allergic and non-allergic) with post-nasal drip (upper airway cough syndrome), Embolism, e.g. PE in adults, Asthma, TB (tuberculosis), Bronchitis, pneumonia, pertussis, Aspiration, e.g foreign body in children, Drugs, e.g. ACE inhibitor, CF in children, Cardiogenic, e.g. mitral stenosis in adults, Achalasia in adults, Thyroid enlargement, e.g. goiter, "Thoughts" (psychogenic), Other causes, Malignancy, e.g. lung cancer in adults).


One hundred coughs. Can Fam Physician, Vol. 54, No. 2, February 2008, pp.236 - 237.
The Lancet Seminar: Prevalence, pathogenesis, and causes of chronic cough and Management of chronic cough. The Lancet 2008; 371:1375-1384.
Image source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, fair use.


Diagnosis of chronic cough in children
Green or yellow phlegm likely to be bacterial - confirming beliefs by doctors & patients and
CNN: Mystery cough? 8 possible culprits
ACCP cough guidelines
Long-term low-dose erythromycin in patients with unexplained chronic cough: no effect
How should one investigate a chronic cough? Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 2011.
Diagnostic algorithm for the approach to children with chronic cough. ER, 2011.
Diagnostic Checklist (mobile version) - UToronto and standard web version 

Chronic Cough - COLA video lecture

Clinical approach from the concept of cough hypersensitivity - figure:

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