Pediatric Airway Conditions 

Tracheomalacia is a softening of the trachea  or "windpipe". This softening may cause the trachea to collapse, which may prevent normal activities such as eating, crying, running, and overall breathing. In addition, a collapsing trachea may make it harder for the patient to clear secretions, fight respiratory infections and overall thrive in growth and development.  

The cause of tracheamalacia in pediatric patients can either be congenital (the patient is born with it) or developed later in life. Congenital tracheamalacia is often associated with other conditions such as esophageal atresia and/or tracheoesphogeal fistula.


Symptoms of tracheomalacia may include: noisy breathing (specifically when exhaling), frequent respiratory infections, inability to clear secretions, low oxygen levels, and failure to thrive.


Parents and caregivers who suspect their child may be suffering from tracheamalacia should consult their health care provider for further evaluation. In addition to a clinical exam/health history, tests such as swallow studies, bronchoscopy, and laryngoscopy, can be performed to assist in the diagnosis of tracheamalacia. 

Treatment for tracheamalacia will vary depending on symptoms, severity of the condition, and other medical conditions. Treatment may include therapy, medications, and/or surgery. Surgical options may include: 

Tracheopexy - This procedure opens up and supports the airway by suspending the back of the tracheal wall from the back of the sternum.         

suffered with difficulty breathing, "blue episodes" choking, and frequent hospitalizations.

Aortopexy - A safe and reliable procedure that provides immediate and permanent relief  of severe tracheomalacia. This surgery opens up the trachea by moving up the aorta (the body's main blood vessel) and attaching it to the back of the breastbone (sternum).

Boston Children's Hospital

Boston Children's Hospital's (BCH) Esophageal and Airway Treatment Center is the leading hospital for treating airway problems in pediatric patients. Because children with airway issues often have other conditions, you are provided with a team to evaluate your child. This team may include: surgical team, gastroenterologists, pulmonologists nutritionists, feeding specialists, physicians assistants, nursing staff and social workers. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the Esophageal and Airway Treatment Center at (617) 355- 3038, or visit their website by clicking HERE.


BCH Team

Leah Frain, FNP

Dori Gallagher, RN

EAT Program Director

Thomas Hamiliton, MD
Assistant Program Director, EAT  

Russell Jennings, MD
Director, EAT Program

 Surgical Director


Michael Manfredi MD
Co-Director EAT Program


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Frequently Asked Questions
Caregiver Profile: Russell Jennings, MD
Boston Children's Hospital
Esophageal & Airway Treatment Center 
Boston Children's Hospital
Caregiver Profile: Michael Manfredi, MD
Boston Children's Hospital
How We Treat Tracheomalacia
Boston Children's Hospital
Caregiver Profile: Dori Gallagher, RN
Boston Children's Hospital
Care of Esophageal Atresia
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Why Boston Children’s Hospital?

[Boston Children's Hospital]. (2017, Apr 7). Caregiver Profile: Russell Jennings, MD [Video File]. Retrieved from

[Boston Children's Hospital]. (2017, May 9). Caregiver Profile: Michael Manfredi, MD  [Video File]. Retrieved from

[Boston Children's Hospital]. (2017, May 9). Caregiver Profile: Dori Gallagher, RN [Video File]. Retrieved from

[Boston Children's Hospital]. (2018). Care of Esophagel Atreisa: Fact or Fiction [Video File]. Retrieved from

[Boston Children's Hospital]. (2017, Jan 30). Esophageal and Airway Treatment Center (EAT) [Video File]. Retrieved from

[Boston Children's Hospital]. (2017, Jun 16). How we treat Tracheomalacia [Video File]. Retrieved from

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