Cardiac cough: causes, symptoms and treatment

Author Ольга Кияница


Coughing is a protective reaction of the body, necessary for cleansing the respiratory tract from irritating substances, sputum, mucus, pus, foreign objects, dust, as well as food caught in the throat. It is necessary to understand that this is a non-self-sustaining disease, but a symptom that can be observed with a variety of pathologies. Cardiac cough is directly related to cardiovascular system disorders caused by stagnation in the small circulation.

Causes of a heart cough

Before starting treatment, you need to understand what causes a heart cough. The main cause of development is the lack of left heart, and several pathologies can lead to this pathology:

  • Congenital heart disease;
  • Ischemic disease;
  • The pathology of the valve apparatus;
  • Arrhythmia;
  • Myocarditis;
  • Cardiomyopathy;
  • Myocardial infarction;
  • Damage to the aorta.

Causes of developing a cardiac cough may include problems with the endocrine and respiratory system, regular use of alcoholic beverages, nicotine, complex forms of anemia, the use of unsuitable pharmacological drugs and psychoemotional disorders.


Since the disease develops due to heart failure, it is necessary to further determine the hemodynamic mechanisms of this disease. Practitioners say that the appearance of a cardiac cough can be caused by the following disorders:

  • Reduction of the contractile function of the left ventricle;
  • Increased pressure in the respiratory system;
  • Venous congestion in the small and large circle of blood circulation;
  • Accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

Video: Chronic dry cough 


This symptom does not develop in all people suffering from heart problems. Cardiac cough is a complication of the underlying disease and in the initial stages of the patient may not manifest itself. With the progression of heart failure, stagnant phenomena in the circulation circles will increase, which is manifested by a gradual increase in cough. In addition, cardiac pathology will be accompanied by other symptoms:

  • Acrocyanosis (blue lips, nasolabial triangle, earlobes, fingertips);
  • Frequent and heavy breathing;
  • Dyspnea;
  • Pain in the heart;
  • Dizziness;
  • Loss of consciousness;
  • Swelling of the cervical veins;
  • Increase in symptoms in the horizontal position of the body.

Differences in cardiac cough from colds

As a rule, it is not difficult to distinguish these two states from a knowledgeable specialist. Unlike a cold, a heart cough does not develop in a few days. Chronic left ventricular failure is a long and gradual process that can take several months or years. If the pathology arises sharply, it is usually associated with a heart attack or poisoning with cardiotoxic substances, which also does not cause diagnostic difficulties.

In addition to coughing with colds, there will be a number of other symptoms: sneezing, nasal congestion, joint pain, general malaise, fever, headache, sometimes upsetting of the stool. All these clinical manifestations, as a rule, are absent in the heart, cough, which also helps during the diagnosis. Also characteristic is the type of cough. At the beginning of the cold, it will be dry, without discharge, and after a few days, sputum is noted.


To confirm the diagnosis, the first thing to do is to analyze the clinical manifestations, characteristics of the patient, and then compare them with the data of instrumental and laboratory examination. The main age group is represented either by young people under the age of 20 or by older patients from 50 and beyond:

The most convenient primary method of investigation is an electrocardiogram. It is carried out quickly, has a high degree of informativeness and does not require special preparation of the patient. On the ECG, you can find signs of ischemia, a previous heart attack, an aneurysm, as well as the phenomenon of reloading the left heart, characteristic of a cardiac cough.


In addition, a huge benefit in the survey brings echocardiography or ultrasound-heart. This study does not allow to evaluate the electrophysiological activity, but with its help it is possible to describe the structural changes in the myocardium and to give a characterization of the operation of the valve apparatus.

Additional diagnostic methods include:

  • A general blood test is a standard study;
  • The sodium-peptide is a substance in the blood, indicating the presence of heart failure;
  • Radiography - helps to identify stagnation in the lungs, and also to fix the increase in the cardiac cavity;
  • MRI is an expensive procedure, but it allows you to accurately determine the state of the myocardium.

How to get rid of a heart cough?

When this symptom appears, most patients immediately turn to the doctor in the hope of obtaining effective treatment.The key problem lies in the fact that it is necessary to eliminate not clinically the manifestations, but the disease that caused them, therefore in cardiology much attention is paid to diagnostics.

If you find the main causes that caused a heart cough, as if the insufficiency of the mitral valve, infarction, aneurysm and metabolic cardiomyopathy, appropriate medical care is prescribed. Treatment of cardiac pathology should be comprehensive and include several directions.

Drug therapy

The admission of pharmacological drugs is considered the main and most effective way to treat this ailment. They help strengthen the heart muscle, improve its performance and increase blood release. After the beginning of therapy, the heart begins to pump out excess blood from the lungs and normalize the circulation of the fluid throughout the body, which leads to the elimination of cough. Most often, the following groups of drugs are used to treat stagnant phenomena:

  • Vasodilators;
  • Hypotensive drugs;
  • Diuretics;
  • Reparants.

It is undesirable to use these medicines without first consulting a specialist. To begin with, the cardiologist must establish an accurate diagnosis and, after the examination, prescribe those or other drugs corresponding to the characteristics of the patient's disease.

Surgical interventions

If the drug therapy is ineffective, a decision is made to conduct an operative intervention. Depending on the cause that caused the heart cough, the tactics of treatment will change. If the mitral valve is insufficient, the cardiac surgeon replaces it, and if there are signs of an obstruction of the coronary arteries, stenting or bypass surgery is recommended.If the myocardium begins to suffer from blockage of the heart vessels, then the stent installation will be the optimal solution. This is a fairly fast procedure, taking no more than 120 minutes, which allows you to effectively restore the perfusion of the heart muscle.

If the cause of stagnant phenomena is a persistent arrhythmia that has not responded to treatment with drugs, then radiofrequency ablation should be performed.


Preservation of physical activity is important in the healing process of congestive heart events. Loads allow to strengthen myocardium, normalize blood circulation in internal organs, reduce pressure in a small circle, and also improve overall health.


The complex of exercises should be compiled with a doctor-rehabilitator or doctor of exercise therapy. The medical specialist analyzes the diagnostic data and the patient's medical history, and on this basis makes up the corresponding program. Initially, the loads are of a minimal nature, but as they become more adaptable and improve their performance, their intensity will increase.


Proper nutrition positively affects the course of the majority of cardiac pathologies. To eliminate ischemic processes, it is necessary to normalize the level of cholesterol. To achieve this, you should reduce the consumption of fried, smoked and fatty foods. It is also recommended to switch to vegetable fats and exclude margarine, lard and butter from the food.

Particular importance in the regulation of blood pressure is the daily intake of salt. This element in high concentrations is capable of retaining fluid because of which the heart has to do a great job when pushing the blood. Decreased salt intake can improve the prognosis of the disease, reduce the severity of stagnant phenomena, and increase the expected life expectancy.

Folk remedies

Self-diagnosis and the use of alternative medicine with such a severe symptom, as a heart cough - are unacceptable.The response of the cardiovascular system to folk remedies, as well as homeopathic preparations, is individual and poorly predictable. When heart pain is accompanied by a cough and swelling, it is necessary to have an examination in the medical institution and the appointment of proven drugs that have proven effective in clinical trials.


Cough is an important sign that indicates the progression of heart failure. In most cases this symptom is amenable to correction with the help of drug therapy and lifestyle modification. If such tactics are not effective, then more radical measures are recommended, including surgical intervention. Cardiac cough can quickly progress and lead to severe stagnation in the lungs, so it can not be ignored and at the first occurrence it is required to consult a medical specialist.

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3 responses to “Cardiac cough: causes, symptoms and treatment”

  1. мариша says:

    У мамы при сердечном кашле даже мокрота была, поэтому брали ей геделикс на всякий случай. Врач говорила, что это не показание к приему отхаркивающих, но с ними намного быстрее все проходит. Так и получилось.

  2. William.robert Haire says:

    I a! 65.until recently never had cough.diagnosed diabetes 3 yr ago.always have had swollen legs/feet to some degree.since 2020 I have pain associated with nerve damage.I’m male. I can’t rest due to the pain,in lowback,privates,thighs.more recently I have pain across left,upperback/shoulders going under armpit to chest wall.this area is painful.I’n past two weeks,a persistent cough has set in.dry.I feel it raising bp. I’n my is only abated when I ri se from this cardiac related.I had ecg,blood tests,few weeks back prior coygh,plus chest xray.all were said to be ok.I had been until 2020,in gym,and active in a sport..this is not test regular..

  3. Deb says:

    I have a dry cough for 6 months now. No fever, aches, or signs of flu. Took cough suppressants to no avail. sometimes dizzy and sometimes have swelling around ankles. Sometimes a muscle cramping under ribs on left side. Sometimes shortness of breath. What would be the best step to take to get a proper diagnosis? My age 71. Pretty sound health and do not take any medications.

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