Atelectasis is defined as collapse of a part of the lung or the whole lung, where the alveoli are deflated, as distinct from pulmonary consolidation. more...
The most common cause is post-surgical atelectasis is splinting, restricted breathing after abdominal surgery. Smokers and the elderly are at an increased risk. Outside of this context, atelectasis implies some blockage of a bronchiole or bronchus, which can be within the airway (foreign body, mucus plug), from the wall (tumor, usually SCC) or compressing from the outside (tumor, lymph node, tubercle)
- cough, but not prominent
- chest pain (rare)
- breathing difficulty
- low oxygen saturation
Post-surgical atelectasis will be bibasal in pattern.
As per the underlying cause. Post-surgical atelectasis is treated by physiotherapy, focusing on deep breathing and encouraging coughing. Atelectasis does not require antibiotics.
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