Tracheobronchomalacia (say "tray-kee-oh-brong-koh-muh-LAY-shee-uh") is a rare condition that affects the windpipe and airways. The walls of the windpipe (trachea) and airways (bronchial tubes) become weak and soft. The weak walls can narrow or block the airways and make it hard for you to breathe. Without treatment, the problem can get worse over time.
This condition is most often caused by a health problem like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or an injury.
This condition can get worse over time. You may find that:
The best way to keep the condition from getting worse is to treat the medical problem that caused it, like COPD.
There are other things you can do. For example, avoid tobacco smoke and other bad air. If you already smoke, it is never too late to stop. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good. Air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust also can make it hard to breathe.
If you have tracheobronchomalacia, you may have a higher risk of getting influenza (flu) or pneumonia. Vaccines for the flu and pneumonia may keep you from getting ill. If you do get these illnesses, having had a vaccine may help keep you from getting as sick as you would have if you didn't get the vaccine.
The treatment depends on what caused the condition. For example, people who have COPD are treated with medicines and oxygen.
If your condition is severe or caused by an injury, your doctor may talk to you about your options. Treatments include:
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Hasmeena Kathuria, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
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