Encyclopedia > Tracheomalacia

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Tracheomalacia is a condition characterized by flaccidity of the tracheal support cartilage which leads to tracheal collapse especially when increased airflow is demanded. There are three types:
  • Type 1 - congenital, sometimes associated with tracheo-esophageal fistula
  • Type 2 - extrinsic compression sometimes due to vascular rings
  • Type 3 - acquired due to chronic infection or prolonged intubation or inflammatory conditions like relapsing polychondritis

The trachea normally dilates slightly during inspiration and narrows slightly during expiration. These processes are exaggerated in tracheomalacia, leading to airway collapse on expiration. The usual symptom of tracheomalacia is expiratory stridor or laryngeal crow.

Some cases require surgery. Tracheostomy[?] and tracheal stents[?] have been used.

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