Fendi is a 12.5 year-old female spayed Maltese who was referred to Dr. Erinne Branter in the ACCESS Los Angeles interventional radiology/endoscopy department for severe coughing for a week.
She was very uncomfortable and had not been able to rest or sleep due to the severity of her cough. She was found to have a collapsing trachea, which was causing the coughing. The trachea, or “windpipe,” is a tube made up of rings of cartilage, through which air is transported to and from the lungs. Sometimes though, the tracheal rings begin to collapse, and as air is squeezed through, a characteristic honking cough results.
Figure 1 – tracheal collapse mid trachea
Fendi had been placed on medications to help her condition but was not responding well. Her family then decided to proceed with a stenting procedure to help open up Fendi’s trachea.
Tracheal stents are placed in a minimally invasive fashion with no incision and traditional neck ring placement surgeries are not necessary. The stents are placed through the mouth and into the trachea to open the collapsed airway. This allows airflow into the lungs and typically makes it possible for these patients to stop coughing and breathe more easily.
Figure 2 – post tracheal stent with open tracheal
Fendi was able to go home the next day on medical management for her tracheal collapse and has slowly been weaned off of most of her medications. Her tracheal stent does not impact her daily activities, but it does now allow her to breathe easier and gives her a chance at a longer life with her loving family.