Recurrent Cough Syncope Due to Pertussis in an Adult: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Hanna Dawood, Nizar Elias, Gleb Slobodin, Majed Odeh


Cough syncope is a well-recognized syndrome in which loss of consciousness usually occurs immediately after prolonged bouts of violent coughing lasting for seconds, with rapid and complete recovery of consciousness. Its pathophysiology is still incompletely understood. Although pertussis is a common cause of cough and cough syncope is not rare, to the best of our knowledge, only five cases of cough syncope related to pertussis have been previously reported, two of which are not well documented. We describe a 52-year-old male who presented to the emergency department with cough and recurrent episodes of cough syncope of 3 months duration due to pertussis which was completely resolved by treatment with azithromycin. Since pertussis is a common cause of subacute and chronic cough in adolescents and adults, and the clinical characteristics of pertussis among adults are less obvious than among children, it seems likely that cough syncope due to pertussis is underdiagnosed. It is important for the physicians to be aware of pertussis as a cause of chronic cough and cough syncope in adults in order to terminate the attacks by adequate antibiotic treatment.

J Med Cases. 2015;6(1):33-35


Cough; Syncope; Pertussis; Adults

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