Asthmatic children presenting with chest tightness as the only symptom have not been widely recognized. This study attempted to find risk factors, summarize clinical features and offer some suggestions for the diagnosis of this atypical asthma. We studied 94 children, aged 6 to 14 years, who complained only of chest tightness. Data from clinical manifestations and laboratory tests were analyzed. The atypical asthma group ( = 58) showed positive bronchial challenge tests, and symptoms either improved or resolved in response to the bronchodilator. The control group ( = 36) had negative results on the bronchial challenge, diurnal PEF, and BDR tests, and no response to asthma treatment with bronchodilator. Pollution, weather, recent house renovation, and air-conditioning use may be risk factors for children with atypical asthma. These children had more accompanying symptoms of rhinitis and rhinitis family history ( < 0.05), and a higher positive detection rate of inhaled allergens and multiple sensitizations. Parameters of the pulmonary function test were lower in the atypical asthma group than in the control group, and they also had higher FeNO values. If a cutoff value of improvement in FEV1 of BDR were set at 8.9%, sensitivity would be 48.2%, which is higher than a 12% cutoff. Environmental factors appeared to cause development of the isolated chest tightness symptom. Clinical history and laboratory tests could provide partial values for this diagnosis. In the absence of a bronchial challenge test, a margin of improvement in FEV1 of BDR set at 8.9% may be helpful.
About The Expert