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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

My baby has a bent trachea

01/07/2003

Question:

My son is 14months and I just found out he has tracheomalacia. Also, his doctor stated that his trachea is narrow and is bent in the middle. What does this mean and is it serious? I have read that tracheomalacia will go away on its own. But what about his bent trachea?

Answer:

Tracheomalacia is softening of the trachea where there can be some collapse of the tracheal walls with breathing. There can be different degrees of tracheomalacia, from mild to severe, but most commonly it resolves on its own and gets better as the child grows. Symptoms can include noisy breathing, chronic cough, but can be more severe if the tracheomalacia is more severe to the point that the child can have significant difficulties breathing to the point that a tracheotomy tube is needed. (Again this later condition is not as common as the mild variety) I`m not sure what your physician means by a "bent" trachea and would suggest that you ask for a better explanation of what is meant by this description. There is a natural curvature of the trachea that we see sometimes on x-rays of the airway but I`m not sure if this is what he was talking about. If you still have questions after talking to your doctor, I would suggest that your child be seen by an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. If there is a "Pediatric" Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor in your area, it would helpful to see them also. 

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Response by:

Sally R Shott, MD Sally R Shott, MD
Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati