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Tracheomalacia: Tests and Diagnosis

What tests are used to diagnose tracheomalacia?

Doctors will often use fluoroscopy, an x-ray that shows movement and allows doctors to see how your child’s trachea looks while breathing in and out. It will also help doctors see what type of tracheomalacia is present and the cause.

Other tests that can be helpful when diagnosing tracheomalacia include: CT scans (a test that combines a lot of x-ray images to show an entire area of the body in detail), pulmonary function tests (tests that show how much air a child can breathe in and out) and bronchoscopy or laryngoscopy (tests in which a doctor uses a tiny camera to see the inside of a child’s airways). Many times flexible bronchoscopy (.pdf) is required for diagnosis and to determine the severity of tracheomalacia and its impact on breathing.

How do providers at Children’s Hospital Colorado make a diagnosis?

Providers will do a physical exam and ask about the child’s symptoms and health history. They will also measure the levels of oxygen in your child’s blood, which will help them decide if the symptoms are caused by tracheomalacia or a different condition. They may also use one or more of the tests above to help make the diagnosis.