Three asthmatic patients with dyspnea and episodes of apparent bronchospasm unresponsive to conventional therapy are described. During these episodes variable extrathoracic upper airway obstruction and airflow limitation typical of bronchial asthma were demonstrated by spirometry test results. In one patient, paradoxical vocal cord motion was identified by fiberoptic laryngoscopy. We believe these patients represent an unusual subgroup of asthmatic subjects who manifest laryngeal dysfunction. Recognition of this upper airway component to airflow limitation in some asthmatic patients may help physicians avoid potentially unnecessary therapy with systemic steroids and endotracheal intubation.