Airway Diseases


Large airways are damaged by chronic inflammation related to obstructing lesions, foreign bodies, or cystic fibrosis. The airway supporting structures--cartilage and smooth muscle are destroyed. Elastic forces of the surrounding normal lung cause airway dilation. Here, the lumen contains pus and the wall is chronically inflamed and fibrotic.

Constrictive bronchiolitis

With bronchiectasis, adjacent small airways are also involved. The walls lose their normal smooth muscle and become scarred, and the lumens become narrowed. This lesion accounts for the airflow obstruction of diffuse bronchiectasis.

See also Case 11

Ciliary dyskinesia

Normal cilia have 9 outer doublets and one central one, as shown here. However, these two cilia from a patient with Kartagener's syndrome lack most of the inner and outer dynein arms. See diagram.

Tracheobronchopathia osteochondroplastica

This rare disease of the trachea and bronchi has nodules of bone and cartilage attached to, and projecting inward from, the tracheobronchial cartilages. The nodules are covered by intact epithelium. The membranous portion of the trachea is not involved. Patients are usually asymptomatic but may develop signs of airway obstruction.