Atelectasis, Definition of Atelectasis, Causes, and Symptoms,and Management. (by GS India Nursing).

Definition of Atelectasis:- Partial collapse or incomplete inflation of the lung. it is the condition in which failure of part of lung to expand due to collapse or closure of alveoli. It may be acute and chronic.


Causes:- Atelectasis occurs from a blocked Airway (Obstructive) or pressure from outside the lung. Risk factors for Atelectasis includes anaesthesia, prolonged bed rest with few change in position shallow breathing and underlying lung disease.


  • Fever.
  • Dyspnoea.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Tachypnea.
  • Pleural pain.
  • Central cyanosis (bluish colour of skin).
  • Sputum production.
  • Low oxygen in the body.
  • Coughing.
  • Wheezing.

Rics factors:-

  • Older age.
  • Lungs disease, such as asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis, or cystic Fibrosis.
  • Recent abdominal or chest surgery.
  • Recent general anaesthesia.
  • Weak breathing, (respiratory muscles) due to muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury or another neuromuscular conditions.
  • Smoking.
  • Pain or injury that may make it painful to cough or cause shallow breathing includes stomach pain or rib fracture.
  • Any condition that make it difficult to shallow.
  • Confinement to bet with infrequent changes of position.


  • Low blood oxygen ( hypoxemia), Atelectasis make it more difficult for your lungs to get oxygen to the air sacs ( alveoli).
  • Pneumonia, Your risk for pneumonia continues until the atelectasis goes away.
  • Respiratory failure. Loss of a lobe or a whole lungs. Particularly in an infant or in someone with lungs disease can be life threatening.

Diagnoses:- To diagnose atelectasis, doctor usually start with X-Ray ( a test that provides pictures of the inside of your chest). Another test called a CT, Computer tomography scan can provide more detailed pictures, in more severe cases a doctor may use a procedure called a bronchoscopy to see inside your airway.


  • The main goal in treating to improve ventilation and remove secretion.
  • Deep breathing exercise.
  • Positive expiratory therapy should be given.
  • Ambulation should be manage at early stage.
  • Sometimes coughing also serve as first line measures to minimize or treat Atelectasis by improving ventilation.
  • Assessed with deep coughing may help remove secretions and increase lungs volume.
  • Positioning your body so that your head is lower than your chest ( postural drainage). This allows mucus do drain better from the bottom of your lungs.


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 used to a blockage, surgery or other treatment may be needed.


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 airway.

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).


  • Thoracentesis is a procedure to remove fluid or air from around the lungs. of fluid by needle aspiration.
  • A needle is put through the chest wall into the pleural space. The pleural space is the thin gap between the pleura of the lungs, and of the inner chest wall.
  • Give adequate educations, supervision and coaching to carry out the deep breathing exercise.

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By GS India Nursing………!!

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