Bao Le-Khac, Khoa Nguyen-Dang, Nam Vu-Hoai, Nam Nguyen-Thanh, Ngoc Duong-Minh, Thai-Hoa Tran-Ngoc, Lam Nguyen-Ho

Challenges in diagnosis and management of central airway obstruction: Case series

  • General Medicine

Central airway obstruction often presents with respiratory symptoms identical to those of common respiratory diseases. Diagnosis of central airway obstruction is challenging in clinical practice, especially misdiagnosed as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in case of “normal” chest X-ray. Here, we reported five central airway obstruction cases: the first and fourth cases misdiagnosed as asthma, the second masquerading as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation, the third diagnosed incorrectly with non-resolving pneumonia, and the fifth misdiagnosed as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We then analyzed diagnostic clues potentially useful to differentiate central airway obstruction from asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A multidisciplinary approach to manage central airway obstruction is essential, particularly selecting judiciously the method of respiratory support due to the high risk of completed airway collapse or obstruction during interventional period.

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