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Common Congenital Anomalies of the Central Airways in AdultsCongenital Anomalies of the Central Airways

Atul C. Mehta, MD, FCCP; Tany Thaniyavarn, MD; Michael Ghobrial, MD; Danai Khemasuwan, MD, MBA
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Pulmonary Medicine (Dr Mehta), Respiratory Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH; the Department of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine (Dr Thaniyavarn), Emory University, Atlanta, GA; the Internal Medicine Department (Dr Ghobrial), Fairview Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic Hospital, Cleveland, OH; and the Interventional Pulmonary Medicine (Dr Khemasuwan), Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI.

CORRESPONDENCE TO: Atul C. Mehta, MD, FCCP, Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Respiratory Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195; e-mail: mehtaa1@ccf.org


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2015;148(1):274-287. doi:10.1378/chest.14-1788
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The knowledge of airway anatomy is the most fundamental requirement of every bronchoscopist. There are numerous and frequent anatomic variations of the central airways making the examination unique for every individual. It is imperative for every bronchoscopist to be fully cognizant of the common congenital anomalies involving the central airways. Proper identification and reporting of these findings are a matter of the utmost importance, especially when surgical options in a patient with lung cancer or lung transplantation is under consideration. This article focuses on the congenital anomalies of central airway encountered among adults. Each of these anatomic variations has a characteristic appearance, yet requires bronchoscopic acumen for their identification. This review provides a comprehensive description of these anomalies and highlights their clinical implications.

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