• About Central Airway Obstructive Disorders

    The term “central airway obstruction” (CAO) refers to a variety of obstructive processes that impede airflow within the central airways, trachea, and mainstem bronchi making it difficult to breathe. Central airway obstructions may be secondary to malignant or benign disease, and create a significant negative impact on quality of life. Frequently, patients with these obstructions present to the hospital with life-threatening respiratory failure.1

    The incidence of central airway obstructions appears to be rising both from lung cancer and benign causes such as airway stenting or tracheostomy complications. Management of CAO is difficult, but therapeutic and diagnostic tools are now available that are beneficial to the majority of patients and most airway obstruction can be promptly relieved. Currently, the most comprehensive patient options are offered at centers with expertise in the management of complex airway disorders and availability of all endoscopic and surgical options.2

    For additional information on Central Airway Obstruction:
    ACCP – American College of Chest Physicians
    STS- Society of Thoracic Surgeons

    1. Ernst A, Feller-Kopman D, Becker HD, et al. Central airway obstruction. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004;169:1278-1297

    2. Ernst A, Feller-Kopman D, Becker HD, et al. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. June 15, 2004 vol. 169 no. 12 1278-1297