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 radio-opaque 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