What is bronchomalacia?
Bronchomalacia is a congenital problem that arises from diminished cartilage support of the smaller airways (below the trachea, or windpipe). The weakened cartilage usually collapses more easily during expiration and prolongs expiration, or prevents expectoration and causes trapping of secretions.
Symptoms of bronchomalacia vary but may include chronic cough, prolongation of lower respiratory tract infections, exercise intolerance, respiratory distress, apnea, recurrent pneumonia and recurrent bronchitis.
How is bronchomalacia diagnosed?
The diagnosis of bronchomalacia is best made by examination of the bronchi in the operating room with a flexible telescope.
How is bronchomalacia treated?
Most children outgrow symptoms of bronchomalacia as they mature however some patients with very severe symptoms may have symptoms persisting beyond childhood.