Tracheal Stenosis – Breathing Hard, Hardly Breathing!


Tracheal stenosis is a narrowing of the trachea that may be caused by chronic inflammatory disease, neoplasm, trauma, iatrogenic, and extrinsic compression from lesions such as intrathoracic goiter (shown). On chest radiographs, the trachea and mainstem bronchi can readily be assessed for changes in caliber. The radiograph may also provide clues as to the cause of stenosis, such as tracheal deviation or a widened mediastinum, or other potential etiologies for shortness of breath, such as an aspirated foreign body. The image shown is of a patient with a large intrathoracic goiter producing a widened mediastinum (white arrows) with narrowing of the trachea (black arrows).


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