Patients have different symptoms depending on their age, the cause of their soft windpipe, and how severe their condition is. The most common symptom is difficulty breathing.
Other symptoms may include:
- Wheezing when breathing out and a high-pitched noise when breathing in
- Difficulty clearing mucus and phlegm from the throat
- Repeated upper respiratory infections
- A bluish color to the skin surrounding the nose and mouth
Infants and children with primary TBM may also have a wheezing cough.
Causes and Risk Factors
Tracheobronchomalacia in children is believed to run in families.
Adults who smoke are the most likely to have the disease. People with TBM often also have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Damage to the windpipe during a tracheostomy, where an incision is made into the windpipe and a tube is inserted to help with breathing
- Tracheal fractures
- Tumors pressing on the windpipe
- Thyroid tumors
- Dilated aortic or pulmonary arteries
- Chronic irritation due to coughing, as from asthma
- Secondhand smoke