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Alternative NamesType 2 tracheomalacia; Type 3 tracheomalacia
Definition Return to top
Acquired tracheomalacia is a weakness and floppiness of the walls of the windpipe (trachea) that develops after birth.
See also: Congenital tracheomalacia
Causes Return to top
Acquired tracheomalacia occurs when previously normal cartilage in the wall of the windpipe starts to break down.
There are two types of acquired tracheomalacia.
Acquired tracheomalacia is very uncommon.
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
A physical examination confirms the symptoms. A chest x-ray may show narrowing of the trachea when exhaling. Even if the x-ray is normal, it is needed to rule out other problems.
A procedure called a laryngoscopy provides the definitive diagnosis. This procedure allows the otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor, or ENT) to see the structure of the airway and determine how severe the problem is.
Other tests that may be performed include:
Treatment Return to top
Persons with tracheomalacia must be monitored closely when they have respiratory infections.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may be necessary for adults with respiratory distress. Rarely, surgery is needed. A stent may be needed to hold the airway.
Possible Complications Return to top
Aspiration pneumonia can occur from inhaling food contents.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you or your child breathes in an abnormal manner. It can become an urgent or emergency condition.Update Date: 9/28/2007 Updated by: Deirdre O’Reilly, MD, MPH, Neonatologist, Division of Newborn Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston and Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.