BACKGROUND: Tracheal bronchus (TB) is defined as an abnormal bronchus that originates directly from the lateral wall of the trachea above the carina and goes towards the upper lobe territory of the lung. We analyzed rigid endoscopies of the trachea in children to determine the incidence and characteristics of TB.
METHODS: In total, 1021 rigid endoscopies of the trachea recorded from children aged 0 to 6 years were analyzed. Endoscopic examination was performed from supraglottic region to carina using a 0-degree Hopkins rod-lens telescope. Patients with a TB were identified and the site of origin of the TB and its level above the carina was noted. Data of the identified patients was reviewed for the presence of preoperative airway findings such as stridor, upper lobe pneumonia and wheezing or atelectasis, other congenital anomalies, and intraoperative complications.
RESULTS: TB was detected in 11 (1.06%) of 1021 upper airway endoscopic examinations. All originated from the right lateral wall of the trachea. Six children had retained secretions in the TB, and 3 children had perioperative airway problems unrelated to the TB. One child showed right main stem bronchus narrowing as seen at the true carina, in the presence of a TB. All the children with TB exhibited at least 1 additional congenital anomaly at birth besides TB.
CONCLUSIONS: TB is a relatively common congenital endoscopic lower airway anomaly in childhood, which is itself rarely symptomatic, but almost always coexists with other congenital anomalies.