For eight months, your child grows, develops, and becomes the newborn you eventually meet. During that time, they’re developing toes, skin, and all the essential organs needed to function. It’s an unbelievable and truly amazing process that lays the foundation for their life. While some pregnancies go without a hitch, there are some rare instances where your baby’s body doesn’t develop as it should, or there are complications with the pregnancy. One of these situations is tracheomalacia. What is it, and how does it impact your baby before it is even born?
What is tracheomalacia?
Tracheomalacia is a rare condition that impacts your child’s windpipe. Typically, the walls in your windpipe are rigid. But, in cases of tracheomalacia, the cartilage making up the windpipe hasn’t developed and is typically weak or flaccid. This can cause the windpipe to collapse entirely or in pieces and block airways. As a result, your child could have breathing problems. Tracheomalacia can also occur later in life — but only if the person has been intubated for a long time or has recurring inflammation and infection of the trachea.
Sometimes, tracheomalacia doesn’t cause any issues, and your child can outgrow it. But, other times, the condition can result in severe or ongoing problems, including:
Breathing difficulty worsens with activity or when your child has a cold
Normal vital signs despite breathing problems
If you think your child may have tracheomalacia, you should talk to their pediatrician immediately. Their doctor will likely order a CT scan, pulmonary function tests, and other tests — such as bronchoscopy or laryngoscopy — to help rule out other issues and confirm the condition. A bronchoscopy can give your specialist a direct examination of the airways using a flexible camera to determine if there is anything blocking them. It can also help them diagnose the type of tracheomalacia your child has, how severe it is, and how it is impacting the ability to breathe.
Tracheomalacia Treatment Options
In most cases, children can outgrow tracheomalacia by three years old, but some children will not, or their condition is too severe. In those cases, surgery is usually the best option. But, surgery can’t always be done immediately. In the meantime, you should help relieve your child of some of their symptoms to ensure they are breathing adequately.
Monitor your child closely to ensure they’re able to breathe.
Set up a humidifier in their room.
Take them to physical therapy to strengthen their chest.
Talk to their pediatrician about using a CPAP machine to help them breathe.
There are different types of surgeries that can be used to remedy tracheomalacia. But, these treatments vary based on the type and location of their condition. You should talk to their doctor about the different types and options for treating tracheomalacia before making any decisions. Also, you should call your doctor immediately if:
Your child has difficulty breathing
Your baby is not gaining weight
Your baby has other symptoms that concern you
Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care
It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of skilled professionals at Care Options for Kids are here to help.
Our home care services offer support in the comfort of your home. We hire loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free in-home assessment. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.