Atelectasis is the collapse of part or all of a lung. Atelectasis is caused by a blockage of the air passages (bronchus or bronchioles) or by pressure on the outside of the lung. Risk factors for developing atelectasis include Anesthesia, Foreign object in the airway (most common in children), Lung diseases, Mucus that plugs the airway.
The goal of treatment is to re-expand the collapsed lung tissue. If fluid is putting pressure on the lung, removing the fluid may allow the lung to expand. Treatments for atelectasis include one or more of the following: Clap on the chest to loosen mucus plugs in the airway. Perform deep breathing exercises. Remove or relieve any blockage in the airways by bronchoscopy. Tilt the person so the head is lower than the chest. This allows mucus to drain more easily. Treat a tumor or other condition, if there is one. Turn the person to lie on the healthy side, allowing the collapsed area of lung to re-expand. Use aerosolized respiratory treatments to open the airway. Use other devices that help increase positive pressure in the airways and clear fluids.
Encourage movement and deep breathing in anyone who is bedridden for long periods. Keep small objects out of the reach of young children. Maintain deep breathing after anesthesia. Mortality rates in recent years appear to have increased. Mortality averages 14%, but is less than 1% for those not requiring admission to hospital.