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Subglottic stenosis masquerading as asthma in a young adult: an overlooked and delayed diagnosis
  1. Carys Whittet,
  2. Simon Morris and
  3. Laysan Pope
  1. ENT Department, Morriston Hospital, Swansea, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Carys Whittet; crw{at}


An otherwise fit young woman presented with a 10-year history of non-progressive wheeze and ‘noisy breathing’. She had previously been diagnosed with teenage-onset asthma but had been unresponsive to inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators. A dysfunctional breathing disorder had been considered a possible diagnosis by several general practitioners, and there were no features to suggest systemic conditions. The patient had undergone an otherwise apparently uncomplicated intubation general anaesthetic for a gastroenterological investigation 13 years earlier. An outpatient flexible endoscopic examination of the upper aerodigestive tract demonstrated an isolated subglottic stenosis which was characterised by cross-sectional imaging. Microlaryngoscopy confirmed a smooth subglottic stenosis which was dilated using a minimally invasive balloon dilatation technique to good clinical effect.

  • Ear, nose and throat/otolaryngology
  • General practice / family medicine
  • Asthma
  • Otolaryngology / ENT

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  • Contributors CW compiled data, researched and drafted the case report. SM revised the drafted case report. LP provided senior advise and revised the drafted case report.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.