Annals of Thoracic Medicine Official publication of the Saudi Thoracic Society, affiliated to King Saud University
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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28-30

Unusual cause of respiratory distress misdiagnosed as refractory asthma

Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ahmed BaHammam
Department of Medicine, King Saud University, P. O. Box 225503, Riyadh - 11324
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1817-1737.25868

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We report a young lady, who was labeled as a case of refractory asthma for a few years, based on history of shortness of breath on minimal exertion, noisy breathing and normal chest radiograph. Repeated upper airway exam by an otolaryngologist and computerized tomography scan, were normal. On presentation to our hospital, she was diagnosed to have fixed upper airway obstruction, based on classical flow-volume loop findings. Fibroptic bronchoscopy revealed a web-shaped subglottic stenosis. The histopathology of a biopsy taken from that area, showed non-specific inflammation. No cause for this stenosis could be identified. The patient was managed with rigid bronchoscopy dilatation, without recurrence. We report this case as idiopathic subglottic stenosis, that was misdiagnosed as refractory bronchial asthma, stressing the importance of performing spirometry in the clinic.

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