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Age: 11

Sex: Male

Indication: Sore throat

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Case #18


Findings

  • Mild narrowing of the subglottic airway with irregular elongated soft tissue densities overlying the trachea at the C5-C7 levels


Diagnosis

  • Bacterial (exudative) tracheitis

Sample Report

Mild narrowing of the subglottic airway with irregular elongated soft tissue densities overlying the trachea at the C5-C7 levels. Findings are concerning for bacterial (exudative) tracheitis. Recommend ENT consultation.

Normal appearance of the epiglottis.

No retropharyngeal thickening.


Discussion

  • Bacterial tracheitis is a potentially life threatening infection that can lead to rapid airway obstruction
  • This most commonly affects children about 4-8 years old, though this can occur at any age
  • Subglottic edema is the most common imaging finding and in some cases, the associated exudates can be seen as linear or irregular soft tissue densities in the tracheal lumen


Images

Exudative tracheitis - Red arrows: linear and irregular filling defects in the subglottic airway, which is mildly narrowed.

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