Differential Diagnosis of Adult Asthma

Adults are rarely seen in the ED with their first presentation of asthma and they usually are aware of their condition. A confident diagnosis of asthma cannot be made on a single visit to the ED and conditions that may mimic asthma (see below) acutely should be considered:

Conditions that mimic asthma [2]
• Inhaled foreign body
• Anaphylaxis
• Airway stenosis
• Bronchiectasis
• Sarcoidosis
• Lung cancer
• Obliterative bronchioloitis
• Congestive cardiac failure
• Pulmonary embolus
• Pulmonary fibrosis
• Hyperventilation syndrome
• Gastro-oesophageal reflux
• Rhinitis
• Chronic cough syndrome
• Vocal cord dysfunction