- By sahlhealth
- May 18, 2021
- 22 views
Atelectasis (at-uh-LEK-tuh-sis) is a complete or partial collapse of the entire lung or area (lobe) of the lung. It occurs when the tiny air sacs (alveoli) within the lung become deflated or possibly filled with alveolar fluid.Atelectasis is one of the most common breathing (respiratory) complications after surgery. It’s also a possible complication of other respiratory problems, including cystic fibrosis, lung tumors, chest injuries, fluid in the lung and respiratory weakness. You may develop Atelectasis if you breathe in a foreign object. Atelectasis can make breathing difficult, particularly if you already have lung disease. Treatment depends on the cause and severity of the collapse.
There may be no obvious signs or symptoms of atelectasis. If you do have signs and symptoms, they may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid, shallow breathing
-A doctor's examination and plain chest X-ray may be all that is needed to diagnose Atelectasis. However, other tests may be done to confirm the diagnosis or determine the type or severity of Atelectasis. They include:
- CT scan. Since a CT is a more sensitive technique than an X-ray, it may sometimes help better detect the cause and type of Atelectasis.
- Oximetry. This simple test uses a small device placed on one of your fingers to measure your blood-oxygen level. It helps determine the severity of Atelectasis.
- Ultrasound of the thorax. This noninvasive test can help tell the difference between Atelectasis, hardening and swelling of a lung due to fluid in the air sacs (lung consolidation), and pleural effusion.
- Bronchoscopy. A flexible, lighted tube inserted down your throat allows your doctor to see what may be causing a blockage, such as a mucus plug, tumor or foreign body. This procedure may also be used to remove the blockages.
-Treatment of Atelectasis depends on the cause. Mild Atelectasis may go away without treatment. Sometimes, medications are used to loosen and thin mucus. If the condition is due to a blockage, surgery or other treatments may be needed.
-Techniques that help you breathe deeply after surgery to re-expand collapsed lung tissue are very important. These techniques are best learned before surgery. They include:
- Performing deep-breathing exercises (incentive spirometry) and using a device to assist with deep coughing may help remove secretions and increase lung volume.
- Positioning your body so that your head is lower than your chest (postural drainage). This allows mucus to drain better from the bottom of your lungs.
- Tapping on your chest over the collapsed area to loosen mucus. This technique is called percussion. You can also use mechanical mucus-clearance devices, such as an air-pulse vibrator vest or a hand-held instrument.
-Removal of airway obstructions may be done by suctioning mucus or by bronchoscopy. During bronchoscopy, the doctor gently guides a flexible tube down your throat to clear your airways.If a tumor is causing the Atelectasis, treatment may involve removal or shrinkage of the tumor with surgery, with or without other cancer therapies (chemotherapy or radiation).
-In some cases, a breathing tube may be needed.Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may be helpful in some people who are too weak to cough and have low oxygen levels (hypoxemia) after surgery.