St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Tracheomalacia - congenital

    Type 1 tracheomalacia

    Congenital tracheomalacia is a weakness and floppiness of the walls of the windpipe (trachea), which is present at birth.

    Causes

    Tracheomalacia in a newborn occurs when the cartilage in the windpipe (trachea) has not developed properly. Instead of being rigid, the walls of the trachea are floppy. Because the windpipe is the main airway, breathing difficulties begin soon after birth.

    Congenital tracheomalacia is very uncommon.

    Symptoms

    Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:

    • Breathing noises that may change with position and improve during sleep
    • Breathing problems that get worse with coughing, crying, feeding, or upper respiratory infections
    • High-pitched breathing
    • Rattling or noisy breaths

    Exams and Tests

    A physical examination confirms the symptoms. An x-ray will be done to rule out other problems. The chest x-ray may show narrowing of the trachea when breathing in.

    A procedure called a larngoscopy provides a definitive diagnosis. This procedure lets the otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor, or ENT) see the airway structure and determine the severity of the problem.

    Other tests that may be done include:

    • Airway fluoroscopy
    • Barium swallow
    • Bronchoscopy -- camera down the throat to see the airways and lungs
    • CT scan
    • Lung function tests
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

    Treatment

    Most infants respond well to humidified air, careful feedings, and antibiotics for infections. Babies with tracheomalacia must be closely monitored when they have respiratory infections.

    Often, the symptoms of tracheomalacia improve as the infant grows.

    Rarely, surgery is needed.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Congenital tracheomalacia generally goes away on its own by the age of 18-24 months. As the tracheal cartilage gets stronger and the trachea grows, the noisy respirations and breathing difficulties gradually stop. Persons with tracheomalacia must be monitored closely when they have respiratory infections.

    Possible Complications

    Babies born with tracheomalacia may have other congenital abnormalities such as heart defects, developmental delay, or gastroesophageal reflux.

    Aspiration pneumonia can occur from inhaling food.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if your child has breathing difficulties or breathing noises. It can become an urgent or emergency condition.

    References

    Finder JD. Bronchomalacia and Tracheomalacia. In: Kliegman, RM, Behrman RE, St. Geme III JW, Schor NF, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 381.

    Licameli GR., Richardson MA. Diagnosis and Management of Tracheal Anomalies and Tracheal Stenosis. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund VJ, Niparko JK, Richardson MA, Robbons KT, Thomas JR, eds.Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 207.

    BACK TO TOP

          Tests for Tracheomalacia - congenital

            Review Date: 5/10/2013

            Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
            adam.com

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            History
            Mission
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs
            Assessment

            Newsroom
            Services
            Brain & Spine
            Cancer
            Heart
            Maternity
            Orthopedics
            Pulmonary
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            mystlukes
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Health Risk Assessments
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Volunteer
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            Careers
            Careers
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile