How often is the diagnosis bronchial asthma correct?

Fam Pract. 1999 Apr;16(2):112-6. doi: 10.1093/fampra/16.2.112.


Background: There are studies indicating that bronchial asthma is often underdiagnosed, while only a little research has been conducted as concerns overdiagnosing asthma.

Objective: We aimed to estimate the number of patients who have been given the wrong diagnosis of asthma.

Methods: All patients aged above 18 years who had visited two GPs during 1994 or 1995, with the diagnosis of bronchial asthma confirmed in the medical register, were examined by a specialist in allergies.

Results: One hundred and twenty-three patients fulfilled the criteria for being included in the study. Eighty-six patients (70%) attended the examination. Of these, 51 (59%) had bronchial asthma, six (7%) asthma in combination with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 29 (34%) no asthmatic disease.

Conclusion: The study indicates that more accuracy is needed when diagnosing bronchial asthma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Sweden