Atelectasis is a partial or total collapse of a lung that causes sudden chest pain, difficult and rapid breathing, and a cough. There is no doubt this condition can be scary, it’s not usually life threatening in an adult due to the fact that the remaining area of the lung can take over for the collapsed part. In a baby or small child or a person with a concurrent lung disorder, atelectasis can become a life threatening medical condition requiring immediate medical attention.
This article tells how to recognize the signs and symptoms of atelectasis, what leads to the issue and offered therapy options.
Atelectasis is caused by an obstruction (i.e. foreign item or mucus) in the airways (i.e. bronchus or bronchioles) that lead to the lung area. Other causes can involve a compression of the airways by a tumor or enlarged lymph node, or a complication following abdominal surgery. Atelectasis may be present in a newborn child if the bronchi fail to develop at birth.
Signs and symptoms involve trouble breathing, chest pain and there’s typically a cough affiliated with the lung collapse. Some other less common signs incorporate dizziness, fever, and possibly shock.
When forming an analysis of this condition the aforementioned indications are commonly first noticed by the person. An analysis of the individual by an MD should be necessary to confirm the presence of atelectasis and this evaluation may involve a physical examination, bronchoscopy, upper body x-rays or CT scan, or blood tests.
Remedy differs depending on the cause and severity of the atelectasis. The ailment may resolve spontaneously when an obstruction is removed. Surgical treatment may be essential if a tumor or enlarged lymph node is compressing the airway. Pain relievers (i.e. acetaminophen) may be used to minimize discomfort.
A patient who develops atelectasis should be watched for the onset of pneumonia, which can generate rapidly after a lung area collapse.