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Alternative Names Return to topTorn tracheal mucosa
Definition Return to top
Tracheal/bronchial rupture is a tear or break in the windpipe (trachea) or bronchial tubes, the major airways leading to the lungs. A tear can also occur in the tissue lining the windpipe.
Causes Return to top
The injury may be caused by:
Injuries to the trachea or bronchi also may occur during medical procedures (for example, fiberoptic bronchoscopy and placement of a breathing tube). However, this is very uncommon.
Symptoms Return to top
Trauma patients who develop a tracheal or bronchial rupture often have other injuries. Patients may:
Exams and Tests Return to top
Treatment Return to top
People who have had a trauma will need to have their injuries treated. Injuries to the trachea often need to be repaired during surgery. Injuries to the smaller bronchi can sometimes be treated without surgery. A collapsed lung is treated with a chest tube connected to suction, which re-expands the lung.
For patients who have breathed a foreign body into the airways, rigid or fiberoptic bronchoscopy may be used to take out the object.
Antibiotics are used in patients with an infection in the part of the lung around the injury.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
For trauma patients, the outlook depends on the severity of other injuries. Operations to repair these injuries often have good results. The outlook is good for people whose tracheal or bronchial disruption is due to other causes.
In the months or years after the injury, scarring at the injury site may cause problems that require other tests or procedures.
Possible Complications Return to top
Major complications after surgery for this condition include:
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Contact your health care provider if you have: