Tracheobronchomalacia in children

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1994 Feb;120(2):154-8. doi: 10.1001/archotol.1994.01880260026006.


Tracheobronchomalacia (TBM) is an important cause of airway distress during infancy, but it generally resolves as the airway enlarges. To assess the origin and natural history of TBM, a chart review and telephone survey were conducted for 50 patients with TBM at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Pa). This study revealed that TBM is a relatively common airway abnormality and is found on 15% of all diagnostic bronchoscopies. Prematurity, low birth weight, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and prolonged ventilation predispose patients to the most severe symptoms. In our study, a tracheotomy with continuous positive airway pressure was required by 75% of the premature infants and 25% of the full-term infants with TBM. Seventy-one percent of all patients underwent decannulation without any other surgical intervention and remained nearly asymptomatic. Some patients could not undergo decannulation because of other airway lesions. In most instances, TBM is a self-limited disease that resolves without surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchi / abnormalities*
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / complications
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / diagnosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trachea / abnormalities*
  • Tracheotomy