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Laryngeal Dysfunction: A Common Cause of Respiratory Distress, Often Misdiagnosed as Asthma and Responsive to Antireflux Therapy

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Asthma is diagnosed frequently in patients with respiratory distress. However, laryngeal dysfunction, a common cause of dyspnea, may masquerade as asthma. This study investigated 158 consecutive patients referred to an allergy practice with a diagnosis of asthma. Pulmonary function testing with flow volume loops were used to separate the patients into four groups. These groups consisted of patients with asthma alone in 32%, asthma and laryngeal dysfunction in 16%, laryngeal dysfunction in 26%, and another group not meeting these criteria in 25%. Thirty patients, 10 each from the first three groups, were treated with antireflux medication and reevaluated. Symptom evaluation observed inspiratory difficulties in 73% of the laryngeal dysfunction group compared with 2% of the asthma group (p < 0.0001). Expiratory problems were present in 7% of the laryngeal dysfunction group and 71% of the asthma group (p < 0.0001). The laryngeal dysfunction group only had a 29% beneficial response to Albuterol inhalation compared with a 92% response in the asthma group (p < 0.0001). The laryngeal dysfunction group responded significantly less to both inhaled and oral steroids (p = 0.002). Among the 30 patients treated with antireflux medications, the peak flows improved by 38.7% in the laryngeal dysfunction group compared with 14.8% in the asthma group (p = 0.01).

Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: March 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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