Rationale: Longitudinal follow-up of children with tracheobronchomalacia is essential to improving our understanding of these disorders, yet currently, there is no such data.
Objectives: To longitudinally define malacia sites and quantify the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the lumen using a bronchoscopic technique and to relate these measurements to illness profiles.
Methods: The validated color histogram mode technique was utilized to quantify primary malacia lesions and airway sites' CSA. Illness frequency, validated scales of illness and cough diary scores were prospectively used to assess clinical profiles.
Results: Thirty-five malacia sites were defined from the 2 studies of 21 children. CSA of 21 (60%) of the malacia lesions increased, 5 (14%) new lesions appeared, 5 (14%) decreased in size, 3 (8%) remained unchanged, and 1(3%) was indeterminate. Overall there was no statistically significant change in paired-data assessments of malacia sites' area while there was a significant increase in area of non-malacia sites. The median yearly growth rate for the malacia sites and non-malacia was 3.65 mm2/year sites and 5.38 mm2/year, respectively (P = 0.31). The type and severity of lesion was not associated with any difference in growth rates, illness frequency or clinical scores.
Conclusions: Malacia lesions increase in size at the same rate as non-malacia sites. However malacia may worsen and new primary lesions may develop. Neither malacia type nor severity influences their growth pattern or illness profile.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.