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Bronchial Asthma or Cystic Fibrosis?
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Bronchial Asthma or Cystic Fibrosis?

Hello there. I'm a 1st-year medical student and was given this case study recently,in which I have to come up with a differential diagnosis. Can anyone help me out here,please? I am truly torn between these two options which I think are highly likely of this scenario.


~Angelica, a 12 year-old girl, was admitted to the hospital recently due to dyspnea and wheezing. She had coughed up a thick amount of mucus and according to her medical history, she has been having the same episodes for the past 7 years, with each occuring for 1-6 hours everytime.~


The issue here is, I don't really know if bronchial asthma attacks can go on for 7 years, being left untreated and what not. Shouldn't that fit the profile of cystic fibrosis which can possibly progress for a lifetime? Besides, thick mucus plugs are characteristic of cystic fibrosis more so than bronchial asthma? I am really confused.



Avatar dr f tn
Hello and sorry for the late reply.

Recurrent chest infections can be due to Asthma, COPD or Bronchiectasis. The other causes could be due to Bronchitis or Cystic fibrosis. COPD and bronchitis unlikely in children. Cystic fibrosis is a possibility. Non-cystic-fibrosis bronchiectasis in children is another possibility. Persistent Asthma uncontrolled can sometimes cause persistent cough. Only further investigations can help diagnose the cause.

Hope this helped and do keep us posted.
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