Acquired tracheomalacia is a weakness and floppiness of the walls of the windpipe (trachea, or airway). It develops after birth.
Congenital tracheomalacia is a related topic.
Acquired tracheomalacia is very uncommon at any age. It occurs when normal cartilage in the wall of the windpipe begins to break down.
This form of tracheomalacia may result:
Symptoms of tracheomalacia include:
The condition may improve without treatment. However, people with tracheomalacia must be monitored closely when they have respiratory infections.
Adults with breathing problems may need continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Rarely, surgery is needed. A hollow tube called a stent may be placed to hold the airway open.
Aspiration pneumonia (a lung infection) can occur from breathing in food.
Adults who develop tracheomalacia after being on a breathing machine often have serious lung problems.
Call your health care provider if you or your child breathes in an abnormal way. Tracheomalacia can become an urgent or emergency condition.
Finder JD. Bronchomalacia and tracheomalacia. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 416.
Little BP. Tracheal diseases. In: Walker CM, Chung JH, eds. Muller's Imaging of the Chest. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 56.
Nelson M, Green G, Ohye RG. Pediatric tracheal anomalies. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 206.
There are no recent clinical trials available for this condition. Please check back because new trials are being conducted frequently.