Tracheal webs occur as a thin layer of tissue that narrows the tracheal lumen. They do not completely obstruct the trachea.
The incidence of congenital tracheal is 1:10,000 births.
Some patients will be asymptomatic. Symptomatic patients can present with a cough, infection, wheezing, asthma, and/or shortness of breath.
There are two types of tracheal webs:
- acquired: mostly post surgery or endotracheal intubation
A thin linear tracheal web can be seen on CT.
Treatment and prognosis
If symptomatic referral to an ENT surgeon for possible resection. Treatment can include various interventions via bronchoscopy, e.g. YAG Laser, mucosal sparing resections, stents 5.
- tracheal stenosis: involvement of the tracheal cartilaginous rings
- laryngeal stenosis
- mucous in the trachea
- this can be excluded by repeating and doing prone/ supine and/or inspiratory/expiratory CT scans to see the difference in appearance after coughing
- 1. Legasto AC, Haller JO, Giusti RJ. Tracheal web. Pediatr Radiol. 2004;34 (3): 256-8. doi:10.1007/s00247-003-1030-6 - Pubmed citation
- 2. Yedururi S, Guillerman RP, Chung T et-al. Multimodality imaging of tracheobronchial disorders in children. Radiographics. 2008;28 (3): e29. doi:10.1148/rg.e29 - Pubmed citation
- 3. Shortness of breath caused by a tracheal web. The Southwest Respiratory and Critical Care Chronicles. 06;3 (9): . The Southwest Respiratory and Critical Care Chronicles (full text)
- 4. Nguyen NK. Unexpected tracheal web encountered during difficult intubation in the operating room. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2011;19 (3): 224-5. Free text at pubmed - Pubmed citation
- 5. Zias N, Chroneou A, Tabba MK et-al. Post tracheostomy and post intubation tracheal stenosis: report of 31 cases and review of the literature. BMC Pulm Med.8 (1): 18. doi:10.1186/1471-2466-8-18 - Free text at pubmed - Pubmed citation