Medical Definition of Differential diagnosis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/4/2018

Differential diagnosis: The process of weighing the probability of one disease versus that of other diseases possibly accounting for a patient's illness. The differential diagnosis of rhinitis (a runny nose) includes allergic rhinitis (hayfever), the abuse of nasal decongestants and, of course, the common cold.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018