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Saber sheath trachea

Saber-sheath trachea refers to diffuse coronal narrowing of the intra-thoracic portion of the trachea with concomitant widening of the sagittal diameter. It is not uncommon and is pathognomonic for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) 1

The sagittal:coronal diameter is over 2:1 2 and the extra-thoracic portion of the trachea is not narrowed. 

Radiographic features

Marked decrease in the coronal diameter of the intra-thoracic trachea associated with an increase in its sagittal diameter.

CT

Additional features may include:

  • inward bowing or displacement of the lateral tracheal walls as a result of cartilage weakness
  • mild intra-thoracic tracheal wall thickening
  • ossification of tracheal rings 
  • during forceful expiration, there may be further inward bowing

See also

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