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Asthma

Cough and chest congestion for three months

03/10/2009

Question:

I have had a cough and chest congestion for three month. I have already been on one course of antibiotics but they didn`t work. Because I also have pulmonary hypertension I have had a pulmonary function test done last August and a CT Scan. Both came back normal. My lung specialist even said that my PFT was even better then his. But I have had this cough and congestion since the middle of December. How do they test for asthma? If my tests already done are normal a few month before the cough does that mean that I don`t have asthma?

Answer:

There is not one specific test for asthma. Some patients will undergo a test called a Methacholine Challenge. Other tests will include a bronchodilator test (giving a medicine to see if your airways open) and then repeating PFTs to see if there is an improvement. Additionally, some centers will use a newer test called exhaled nitric oxide. If, however, you have pulmonary hypertension, I suggest you speak to your pulmonologist before any further work-up.

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Response by:

David  Hauswirth, MD David Hauswirth, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor
Pulmonary, Allergy, Crtitical Care & Sleep
Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University