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Tests we might recommend

  • Lung function (breathing) tests

Breathing tests such as spirometry and FeNO can help exclude

lung conditions such as asthma. These can sometimes be done

locally, or we book them at our lung function department in

Wythenshawe hospital (NWLC). They are straightforward and

routine tests that are used to help guide treatment decisions.

  • ​Blood tests

Sometimes allergies may be contributing towards your cough. 

If the doctor suspects this might be the case, you may be asked to have an allergy test.  We usually perform this by taking a small sample of your blood which will be sent to a laboratory for testing. 

  • Sputum tests

Sputum is a mucus-like substance found in the lungs which you may find you have been coughing up.  If the doctor thinks you have a viral lung infection or lung inflammation which might be causing your cough, you may be asked to produce a sample of sputum. 

  • Histamine challenge

A histamine challenge is a safe and painless way of helping to determine whether a person has asthma, even if you do not have typical symptoms. Histamine is a medicine which, when inhaled, can cause the airways to tighten in people with asthma because their airways are more sensitive. 

  • Barium swallow +/- oesophageal pH test

These tests help to exclude acid reflux as a cause of cough. If results

indicate a problem with acid, we may recommend treatment or request

review from Gastroenterology.

  • Imaging of the lungs

This may include x-rays or CT chest scans


  • Visualisation of the larynx and/or lungs


This is a camera test to look at your vocal cords. It is a small, flexible camera that passes

through your nose, to see whether there are any signs of nasal disease, sensitivity in the larynx,

or other factors aggravating this area. This test is a quick and routine outpatient procedure,

with no significant side effects. You can do everything as normal on the day of your test.


This test is more invasive than a laryngoscopy. It is a flexible camera that we use to look into the

lungs. A bronchoscopy helps us to look for mucus or any structural cause of your cough lower

down in your airways. Sometimes we may take small samples (biopsy) or washes (lavage) to collect

cell samples. As we normally sedate patients for this test, we advise that you organise for someone

to take you home afterwards as you will be unable to drive immediately after. You are also advised

not to eat or drink for 6 hours before the test. Your doctor will discuss specific questions and any

possible side effects when you attend.

Flexible bronchoscopy

Flexible laryngoscopy

Lung function tests

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