Exercise-induced respiratory symptoms are common in childhood, and it can be difficult to diagnose their cause. A study published in Pediatric Pulmonology found that the diagnoses proposed by primary care physicians are often not the same as the final diagnoses after specialist referrals.
In the study of 214 children, the final diagnosis was asthma in 54% of cases, extrathoracic dysfunctional breathing in 16%, thoracic dysfunctional breathing in 10%, asthma plus dysfunctional breathing in 11%, insufficient fitness in 5%, chronic cough in 3%, and other diagnoses in 1%.
Final diagnosis differed from referral diagnosis in 54% of cases. Ninety-one percent of the children with a final diagnosis of asthma were prescribed inhaled medication and 50% of children with dysfunctional breathing were referred to physiotherapy.