What Is Tracheobronchomalacia (TBM)?
In tracheobronchomalacia (TBM), the cartilage supporting the walls of the trachea and bronchi softens, weakening the airway so it collapses easily on exhaling. TBM is also called tracheobronchial collapse or expiratory tracheobronchial collapse.
TBM comes in two forms:
- Primary or congenital (present at birth) TBM
- Acquired TBM
It was once thought that acquired TBM was rare, but new research suggests that it may be merely under-diagnosed. The exact number of people with acquired TBM is unknown, but it appears to be most common in middle-aged and senior men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or who have a history of smoking.