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Evaluation of tracheobronchial anomalies in children using low-dose multidetector CT: report of a 13-year-old boy with a tracheal bronchus and recurrent pulmonary infections.

Tracheobronchial anomalies in children may be associated with recurrent episodes of pulmonary infections and symptoms of recurrent or persistent airway obstruction. Diagnosis by conventional imaging may be difficult. Multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) offers the possibility to generate a virtual three-dimensional bronchoscopy, thus enabling detailed overview of the tracheobronchial system. We report on a 13-year old boy, admitted to hospital after recurrent episodes of bronchial infections. Functional studies showed airway obstruction with no response to bronchodilators. A chest radiograph was normal. Flexible bronchoscopy revealed tracheobroncho malacia of the distal trachea and the right main bronchus. The ostium of an accessory right-sided tracheal bronchus, which could not be entered by the endoscope, was also detected. MDCT using a low-dose protocol was performed on a four-section scanner (Somatom Volume Zoom, Siemens, Erlangen, Germany). A three-dimensional virtual bronchoscopy based on surface rendering was generated, which confirmed moderate narrowing of the trachea and right main bronchus. Furthermore, an accessory and stenotic tracheal bronchus including poststenotic segments, ventilating parts of the right upper lobe, could be clearly visualized. MDCT can be a valuable instrument in the diagnostic pathway of assessing tracheobronchial anomalies in children, including visualization of poststenotic bronchial structures. The use of low-dose protocols provides adequate image quality to perform virtual bronchoscopy, thus reducing administered radiation to a tolerable amount.

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