The prognosis for tracheomalacia is generally good, with most cases resolving naturally as cartilage in the windpipe grows stronger over time. Breathing noises and respiratory problems usually improve gradually and stop by the time a child reaches the age of two. However, other more serious congenital abnormalities related to tracheomalacia, such as heart defects, may be present.
Additional risks from tracheomalacia include aspiration pneumonia, a potentially fatal complication caused by inhaling food. Upper respiratory infections require that a person with tracheomalacia be monitored closely and receive follow-up care by an ear, nose and throat health care provider. Adults with tracheomalacia caused by being on a breathing machine often develop serious lung problems.