The original meaning of "asthma" was "panting," and today the term is being loosely applied to a variety of conditions: the so-called thymic, renal, cardiac, bronchial or other type of asthma. These may bear a slight resemblance to one another in some of their manifestations, yet they are very dissimilar in their etiology, mechanism and clinical course. Consequently, the term asthma has no universally recognized meaning or application.1 Rackemann2 advises one to regard the word as denoting a symptom and to think of it as in the same category with "headache" or "nausea" or even "angina." In the textbook by Norris and Landis,3 one finds this comment: "By the term "bronchial asthma" is meant a form of paroxysmal dyspnea, the characteristic feature of which is a marked diminution or arrest of the respiratory movement with prolonged expiration: a condition sometimes referred to as spasmodic asthma."
LAMSON RW, BUTT EM. FATAL "ASTHMA"A CLINICAL AND PATHOLOGIC CONSIDERATION OF 187 CASES. JAMA. 1937;108(22):1843–1850. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780220001001
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.