Relapsing polychondritis (RPC) is a multisystem disorder of chondromalacia involving any cartilage. Respiratory tract involvement is the greatest threat to life. We report a patient with stenosis of the subglottic trachea and left main bronchus who suddenly ceased breathing. As this patient did not have any other clinical features of RPC, the diagnosis was difficult. CT showed circumferential worm-eaten-like thickening suggesting a deformity and edema of the tracheal mucosa. Biopsy of the tracheal and thyroid cartilage revealed mild cartilage degeneration and infiltration with inflammatory cells. Therefore, the patient was diagnosed as having RPC. She is currently well 24 months after Montgomery T tube intubation with systemic steroids. Narrowing of the left main bronchus has not worsened.
Copyright 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.