Tracheal calcification, or tracheobronchial calcification, is a benign radiological finding of the middle aged and elderly and is usually of no clinical significance.
Patients are generally asymptomatic.
Long-term warfarin therapy may be associated with tracheal calcification, possibly because warfarin prevents the formation of vitamin K-dependent proteins which are responsible for preventing calcification 1,2.
The appearance is often striking on plain radiograph as individual tracheal rings become radiopaque and stand out from the soft tissue mediastinum.
Treatment and prognosis
No management is necessary.
- 1. Taybi H, Capitanio MA. Tracheobronchial calcification: an observation in three children after mitral valve replacement and warfarin sodium therapy. Radiology. 1990;176 (3): 728-30. doi:10.1148/radiology.176.3.2389031 - Pubmed citation
- 2. Price PA, Faus SA, Williamson MK. Warfarin causes rapid calcification of the elastic lamellae in rat arteries and heart valves. Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 1998;18 (9): 1400-7. doi:10.1161/01.ATV.18.9.1400 - Pubmed citation