What is it?

Bronchomalacia is a condition where the cartilage in the bronchi is weak. Your bronchi are flexible but firm airways in your lungs. Normally, c-shaped cartilage structures surround your bronchi like protective shells. These firm structures allow your bronchi to open as your lungs expand and contract. Without their support, your bronchi become narrow, especially during exhalation.

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Signs & symptoms

* Barking cough without phlegm.
* Cyanosis (blue-tinted skin).
* Fatigue.
* Frequent infections like colds and respiratory illnesses.
* Shortness of breath (dyspnea).
* Stridor (noisy, vibrating sound when breathing).
* Wheezing.


Your provider will perform a physical examination and listen to your or your child’s lungs. If appropriate, they’ll order additional testing or place additional referrals.
Imaging tests allow your provider to see inside the lungs. You or your baby may need:
* Bronchoscopy.
* CT scan.
* MRI.
* X-ray.


Newborns with mild bronchomalacia may only need regular check-ins with their healthcare provider. The condition often resolves on its own by 6 months of age as their lungs mature.
If bronchomalacia is interfering with your baby’s oxygen levels, providers may recommend a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. A CPAP device is a mask that goes over your baby’s nose and mouth and connects to a machine. The machine delivers gentle, continuous air pressure to the mask. The air pressure can help keep the bronchi open. Your baby may need this device for a few weeks or until their lungs have fully developed.
In very severe cases of bronchomalacia and respiratory failure, your baby may need a ventilator to keep their bronchi open and help them breathe.
Bronchomalacia treatment in adults depends on the cause. If you have emphysema or chronic bronchitis, you may need medications and regular checkups to help manage your symptoms. A CPAP device may also be helpful, especially when sleeping. In severe cases, patients may need ventilator support in a hospital.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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