Department of Pediatrics, University of Chieti, 66100 Chieti, Italy.
Chronic cough in childhood is associated with a high morbidity and decreased quality of life. Protracted bacterial bronchitis (PBB) seems to be the second most common cause of chronic cough in children under 6 years of age. Its main clinical feature is represented by wet cough that worsens when changing posture and improves after the introduction of antibiotics. Currently, the mainstay of PBB treatment is a 2-week therapy with a high dose of antibiotics, such as co-amoxiclav, to eradicate the infection and restore epithelial integrity. It is very important to contemplate this disease in a child with chronic cough since the misdiagnosis of PBB could lead to complications such as bronchiectasis. Clinicians, however, often do not consider this disease in the differential diagnosis and, consequently, they are inclined to change the antibiotic therapy rather than to extend it or to add steroids. Data sources of this review include PubMed up to December 2016, using the search terms "child," "chronic cough," and "protracted bacterial bronchitis."