What's in a name? Expiratory tracheal narrowing in adults explained

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Abstract

Tracheomalacia, tracheobronchomalacia, and excessive dynamic airway collapse are all terms used to describe tracheal narrowing in expiration. The first two describe luminal reduction from cartilage softening and the latter refers to luminal reduction from exaggerated posterior membrane movement. Expiratory tracheal narrowing is a frequent occurrence that can cause symptoms of airway obstruction, such as dyspnoea, wheeze, and exercise intolerance. The accurate diagnosis and quantification of expiratory tracheal narrowing has important aetiological, therapeutic, and prognostic implications. The reference standard for diagnosis has traditionally been bronchoscopy; however, this method has significant limitations. Expiratory tracheal disorders are readily detected by four-dimensional dynamic volume multidetector computed tomography (4D-CT), an emerging, non-invasive method that will potentially enable detection and quantification of these conditions. This review discusses the morphological forms of expiratory tracheal narrowing and demonstrates the utility of 4D-CT in the diagnosis, quantification, and treatment of these important conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1268 - 1275
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Radiology
Volume68
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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