Airway stenting in excessive central airway collapse
In tracheobronchomalacia (TBM) and other disorders, weakened airway walls lead to expiratory central airway collapse (ECAC) and can cause symptoms of cough, dyspnea, retained secretions, and recurrent pulmonary infections. Diagnosis of severe ECAC is based on the presence of >90% expiratory airway collapse on dynamic computed tomography (CT) and/or bronchoscopy. We offer patients with severe ECAC a trial of airway stenting to determine whether splinting of the central airways leads to improvements in symptoms, quality of life, exercise capacity, or respiratory function. Patients who respond positively to airway stenting are considered for tracheobronchoplasty.