What is an Atelectasis? Explain its Classification

April 25 21:34 2019 Print This Article

It is defined as a disorder in which there is an absence of the exchange of gas in alveoli. It may occur due to the collapse of alveoli or the consolidation of fluid. It may involve part or full lung. In this condition alveoli are deflated and are different from the consolidation of lungs. This feature is quite common in the x rays and in other studies. In this there is a normal exhalation which occurs by many medical conditions. In this there is a collapse of the lung tissue which is quite different from the pneumo thorax and is a specific feature of this condition. The acute phase represents a post operative complication in which there is a decrease in the surfactant. In case of pre mature neonates one needs to look for infant respiratory distress syndrome referred as the IRDS.

What is the classification of atelectasis?

It includes the acute as well as chronic forms. In the acute phases the lung collapses recently and is noted for the air lessness. In the chronic cases one also observes the area of air lessness and infection with the widening of bronchi referred as the bronchi ectasis and destruction with a scar formation which may lead to the fibrosis.

The acute phase represents a most common complication of post operative problems which occur after the chest or abdomen surgery. It is associated with an injury to the chest. It can occur by an accident or stabbing. After the surgery or injury it becomes massive and involves most of the alveoli in one or more areas of the lungs. The amount of collapse in alveoli is consistent and complete. There are large doses of opoids and sedatives along with the tight bandages and a pain in the chest or abdomen. There is abdominal swelling which is referred as the distention and the body does not move which increases the risk of atelectasis.

It occurs after the surgery or injury or may occur spontaneously. In the acute cases one also observes a deficiency in the amount of surfactant and the most of alveoli collapse and the collapse is not uniform. It may involve a small part of lung or a whole lung. There are pre mature babies which are borne with a decrease in the surfactant which can develop an acute disorder which may lead to the neo natal respiratory syndrome. There are some adults who can develop an acute form of this disorder from the excessive oxygen use and by mechanical ventilation.

The chronic type of this disorder is divided into two parts involving the middle lobe and round atelectasis. In the case of middle lobe syndrome there is an involvement of the middle lobe of right lung and as a result of pressure on the bronchi from the large lymph nodes one can see a tumor. In the case of blocked contract lung develops a pneumonia which cannot resolve and may lead to the chronic inflammation. It may also result in a scar formation and bronchi ectasis.

The rounded atelectasis is also known as the folded lung syndrome in which the outer portion of the lung collapses slowly and may lead to the scarring and a decrease in the size of membrane layers which can lead to the covering of lungs known as pleura. It gives a round appearance on the x ray and the doctors think it to be a tumor. It is mainly a complication of the asbestos induced disorder and may also occur due to the scar and thickening of pleura.

In the case of absorption atelectasis there is an involvement of the atmosphere. It consists of 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen. The exchange of oxygen takes place at the alveoli capillary membrane. In the state of inflation nitrogen plays a very crucial role. If oxygen replaces the nitrogen it can lead to the absorption of oxygen in the blood which decreases the volume of alveoli. It occurs due to the alveolar collapse known as absorption atelectasis.

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