Tracheomalacia Clinical Presentation

Updated: May 09, 2022
  • Author: Daniel S Schwartz, MD, MBA, FACS; Chief Editor: Mary C Mancini, MD, PhD, MMM  more...
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Infants present after a few weeks of life with expiratory stridor (also called laryngeal crow). Expiratory stridor may worsen with supine positioning, crying, and respiratory infections. Hoarseness, aphonia, breathing problems, and feeding difficulties have been described.

Obtain a history of an acquired etiology, such as prolonged intubation, tracheostomy, chest trauma, recurrent tracheobronchitis, cartilage disorder (relapsing polychondritis), or lung resection.


Physical Examination

Inspiratory retractions of supraclavicular and intercostal spaces may occur. Thoracic deformity may be present in cases of chronic tracheomalacia, especially in younger patients. Auscultation reveals normal inspiration but abnormal expiratory noises. Not uncommonly, infants may demonstrate signs of growth failure.