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Tracheomalacia

Tracheomalacia is a congenital or acquired condition in which the tracheal airway is flaccid or floppy, which can lead to respiratory problems.

Diagnosis and Testing

Tracheomalacia is usually diagnosed by endoscopy, a procedure in which a small scope is passed into the airway while the patient is spontaneously breathing.

Treatment

Most patients with tracheomalacia are asymptomatic and do not require treatment. Some may only become symptomatic during upper and lower respiratory tract infections.

However, some children with tracheomalacia have greater frequency and severity of respiratory infections. Bronchodilators, commonly used to treat children with cough and wheezing, may exacerbate tracheomalacia. In such cases, medical or surgical treatment is considered.

Treatment for tracheomalacia is based on symptoms. To control reflux symptoms, the physician may prescribe medications that work directly to control reflux. For respiratory complications, sometimes adjustments in positioning can help, or your physician may suggest the use of devices to keep the airway open during sleep, such as CPAP and BIPAP.

Surgical management is necessary only when symptoms are not controlled by medical management and cause life-threatening events, recurrent pneumonias or intermittent respiratory obstruction.

For more information about tracheomalacia, please speak with your child's physician.