What is Dependent Atelectasis? (Collapsed Lung)

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Published at : 21 Dec 2020
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What is Dependent Atelectasis? Learn more: https://healthery.com/dependent-atelectasis/

What is Dependent Atelectasis?

It's a condition where all or part of a lung or lobe of a lung collapses. It's caused when the alveoli (tiny air sacs) inside the lung become deflated. Atelectasis is a common complication following respiratory surgery. It can be caused by lung tumors, cystic fibrosis, and respiratory weakness. Other causes of atelectasis may include: Accumulation of mucus plugs, asthma, and inhalation of foreign bodies. As well as respiratory diseases, pneumonia and blood clots in lungs and airways. It can also be caused by chest trauma and scarring of the lung tissue.

What are the symptoms of Atelectasis?

Painful or difficulty breathing, shallow or rapid breathing and continual cough. If you experience any of the symptoms seek medical advice immediately.

How is Atelectasis diagnosed?

To make a definitive diagnosis, several tests will need to be done. Chest X-rays are the first diagnostic tool that will be used. CT scans to measure lung volumes and check for tumors in the lung tissues. Oximetry is used to check the oxygen saturation in the blood. Poor oxygen saturation may indicate that the lungs are compromised. And a bronchoscopy to check for a mucus plug obstructing the airway.

How is Atelectasis treated?

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause and diagnosis. Small areas may subside without the need for treatment. Physiotherapy is generally set as treatment to help re-expand the lung tissue. As well as device-assisted deep coughing and deep breathing. During recuperative treatments, supplemental oxygen may be used. It is necessary to help relieve shortness of breath that you may suffer from. Another treatment includes: Surgical Intervention: A bronchoscopy may be needed to suck out mucus plugs or foreign objects.

The takeaway?

It's a term used to describe a collapsed area of the lung or a lobe of the lung. It's a common post-surgery complication that surgical teams will be aware of. If you're concerned you have Atelectasis seek medical advice.


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