What does a Cardiac Cough Sound Like?

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A cough is a reflex action of the body to clear the air passages of mucus and irritants. A cardiac cough, also known as a heart cough, is a cough caused by heart disease. It is a common symptom of congestive heart failure (CHF) and is often a sign of a serious underlying condition. A cardiac cough sounds different from a regular cough and can be easily recognized. In this blog post, we will discuss what a cardiac cough sounds like, what causes it, and how it can be treated.

What does a cardiac cough sound like?

Symptoms of a Cardiac Cough

A cardiac cough is a dry, hacking cough that sounds like a dog barking. The cough is often persistent and can be worse at night or when lying down. The cough may be accompanied by wheezing, shortness of breath, and a feeling of tightness in the chest. In some cases, the cough may produce white or pink frothy sputum, which is a sign of pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs).

What Causes a Cardiac Cough?

A cardiac cough is caused by heart disease, specifically CHF. CHF is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently, leading to a buildup of fluid in the lungs. The fluid in the lungs irritates the air passages, causing a cough. Other causes of a cardiac cough may include heart valve disease, coronary artery disease, and arrhythmias.

Diagnosing a Cardiac Cough

A cardiac cough can be diagnosed by a healthcare provider using a variety of tests. These tests may include a physical examination, a chest x-ray, an electrocardiogram (ECG), an echocardiogram, and blood tests. A healthcare provider may also order a pulmonary function test to measure lung function and rule out other causes of a cough.

Treating a Cardiac Cough

The treatment of a cardiac cough depends on the underlying cause of the cough. If the cough is caused by CHF, treatment may include medications to improve heart function and reduce fluid buildup, such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers. Lifestyle changes, such as reducing salt intake and quitting smoking, may also be recommended. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary for oxygen therapy and monitoring.

Preventing a Cardiac Cough

The best way to prevent a cardiac cough is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and manage any underlying heart conditions. This includes eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, and taking medications as prescribed by a healthcare provider. Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider are also important to monitor heart function and detect any changes early.


A cardiac cough is a common symptom of CHF and other heart conditions. It is a dry, hacking cough that sounds like a dog barking and can be easily recognized. If you experience a cardiac cough, it is important to seek medical attention promptly to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing any underlying heart conditions is the best way to prevent a cardiac cough from occurring.

What does a Cardiac Cough Sound Like?
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