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Intermittently symptomatic tracheal diverticulum: A case of a rare clinical phenomenon

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September 21, 2011
by Christopher L. Smelley, DO, Rebecca Bowen, MD, and Cherie-Ann O. Nathan, MD, FACS


Tracheal diverticula are rarely encountered, and only a handful of cases have been described in the literature. In most of these cases the patient was asymptomatic. When symptoms have occurred, they usually had an airway component such as cough, dyspnea, and recurrent respiratory infection. Imaging techniques-particularly computed tomography-are beneficial for diagnosing a tracheal diverticulum because bronchoscopy can sometimes miss the point of communication with the trachea. We report the case of a 62-year-old woman with a tracheal diverticulum that manifested as an intermittent, painful right neck mass with associated cough, dysphonia, dysphagia/odynophagia, and an occasional strangulation/choking sensation.

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