Learn About Tracheitis

What is the definition of Tracheitis?

Tracheitis is a bacterial infection of the windpipe (trachea).

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What are the alternative names for Tracheitis?

Bacterial tracheitis; Acute bacterial tracheitis

What are the causes of Tracheitis?

Bacterial tracheitis is most often caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. It often follows a viral upper respiratory infection. It affects mostly young children. This may be due to their tracheas being smaller and more easily blocked by swelling.

What are the symptoms of Tracheitis?

Symptoms include:

  • Deep cough (similar to that caused by croup)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • High fever
  • High-pitched breathing sound (stridor)
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What are the current treatments for Tracheitis?

The child often needs to have a tube placed into the airways to help with breathing. This is called an endotracheal tube. Bacterial debris often needs to be removed from the trachea at that time.

The child will receive antibiotics through a vein. The health care team will closely monitor the child's breathing and use oxygen, if needed.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Tracheitis?

With prompt treatment, the child should recover.

What are the possible complications of Tracheitis?

Complications may include:

  • Airway obstruction (can lead to death)
  • Toxic shock syndrome if the condition was caused by the bacteria staphylococcus
When should I contact a medical professional for Tracheitis?

Tracheitis is an emergency medical condition. Go to the emergency room right away if your child has had a recent upper respiratory infection and suddenly has a high fever, a cough that gets worse, or trouble breathing.

What are the latest Tracheitis Clinical Trials?
Feasibility of Tracheobronchial Reconstruction Using Bioengineered Aortic Matrices
Summary: We used a segment of cryopreserved aorta as a graft for reconstruction for long segment tracheobronchial lesion in human.
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What are the Latest Advances for Tracheitis?
Etiological significance of Corynebacterium spp. in the development of diseases of the respiratory tract.
Summary: Etiological significance of Corynebacterium spp. in the development of diseases of the respiratory tract.
The Tricky Trachea: Tracheitis and Mediastinitis Treated With Infliximab and Steroids in a Patient With Ulcerative Colitis.
Summary: The Tricky Trachea: Tracheitis and Mediastinitis Treated With Infliximab and Steroids in a Patient With Ulcerative Colitis.
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Corynebacterium spp. - problematic pathogens of the human respiratory tract (review of literature).
Summary: Corynebacterium spp. - problematic pathogens of the human respiratory tract (review of literature).
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: December 31, 2020
Published By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Cai Y, Meyer A. Pediatric infectious disease. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 201.

Rodrigues KK, Roosevelt GE. Acute inflammatory upper respiratory obstruction (croup, epiglottitis, laryngitis, and bacterial tracheitis).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 412.

Rose E. Pediatric respiratory emergencies: upper airway obstruction and infections. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 167.

Wenzel RP. Acute bronchitis and tracheitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 90.