The definition and diagnosis of asthma

Allergy. 1993;48(17 Suppl):12-6; discussion 22-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.1993.tb04692.x.


Asthma defies precise definition, despite several carefully worded statements. Perhaps the most concise and useful description of asthma is "variable airflow obstruction". The diagnosis is made by recognition of a patterns of one or more characteristic symptoms including wheeze, cough, chest tightness and dyspnoea, and is best confirmed by evidence of variable or reversible airflow obstruction accompanying symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Mechanics