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Childrens Services

Bronchomalacia in children

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

What is Bronchomalacia?

Bronchomalacia means ‘floppiness’ of some part of the Bronchi (the medium sized airways). This condition is not common but by no means rare.

What causes Bronchomalacia?

Your child may have been born with this condition or may have developed it because of another condition such as congenital heart disease.

Your child may have been born with this condition or may have developed it because of another condition such as congenital heart disease.

What are the symptoms?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • varying degree of shortness of breath
  • poor health

How is it diagnosed?Show [+]Hide [-]

Bronchomalacia is diagnosed by having an investigation called a Bronchoscopy. The result of this test will be available the same day.

How does the condition develop?

Problems arise during the first and second years of life, commonly after a breathing infection.

Symptoms usually get worse the each episode but as the child gets older, they will be less prone to infections and therefore the symptoms will reduce. In some children the symptoms remain to a degree but most grow out of it.

What is the treatment?Show [+]Hide [-]

Children with this condition who have breathing infections need treatment with antibiotics.

What can I do to help my child?

It is very important to ensure that your child is not subjected to a smoke filled environment as this could make the condition worse. If you smoke, then we are happy to liaise with your GP practice to access support to try to help you to give up.

As previously mentioned in this leaflet, ensuring your child received antibiotics when they develop a breathing infection and we will inform your GP of this.

Where can I get more information?Show [+]Hide [-]

There is a notice board in the Children’s Outpatient Department at the Freeman Hospital informing all respiratory children’s families of other support networks available to them.

We hope this information sheet has been helpful to you but is by no means a replacement for talking to either the doctor or nurse. If you would like more information or advice please contact either:

  • Nurse Specialists Children’s Respiratory: 0191 282 5558, Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm
  • Physiotherapist for the Children’s Respiratory Service 0191 233 6161,  Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS. You can contact them on freephone 0800 032 02 02 or email

You can download a PDF version of an information leaflet about bronchomalacia.

Useful websites

If you would like further information about health conditions and treatment options, you may wish to have a look at the NHS Choices website. On this website there is an information prescription generator which brings together a wealth of approved patient information from the NHS and charity partners which you may find helpful.

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