DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Atelectasis (at-uh-LEK-tuh-sis) — a complete or partial collapse of a lung or lobe of a lung — develops when the tiny air sacs (alveoli) within the lung become deflated. It's a breathing (respiratory) complication after surgery.
Atelectasis is also a possible complication of other respiratory problems, including cystic fibrosis, inhaled foreign objects, lung tumors, fluid in the lung, respiratory weakness and chest injuries.
The amount of lung tissue involved in atelectasis is variable, depending on the cause. Atelectasis can make breathing difficult and lower oxygen particularly if lung disease is already present. Treatment depends on the cause and severity of the collapse.
June 11, 2015
- Duggana M, et al. Atelectasis in the perioperative patient. Current Opinions in Anaesthesiology. 2007;20:37.
- Conde MV, et al. Overview of the management of postoperative pulmonary complications. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 3, 2015.
- Goldman L, et al. Bronchiectasis, atelectasis, cysts, and localized lung disorders. In: Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 3, 2015.
- Smetana GW, et al. Strategies to reduce postoperative pulmonary complications. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 3, 2015.
- AskMayoExpert. Perioperative medicine-pulmonary management. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- What is atelectasis? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/atl#. Accessed April 3, 2015.
- Stark P, et al. Atelectasis: Types and pathogenesis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 3, 2015.
- Finder JD. Atelectasis in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 3, 2015.
- Questions are the answer: Do you know the right questions to ask? Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. www.ahrq.gov/questionsaretheanswer. Accessed May 28, 2015.
- Ferri FF. Atelectasis. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 28, 2015.
- Bronchiectasis and atelectasis. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pulmonary-disorders/bronchiectasis-and-atelectasis/atelectasis. Accessed May 29, 2015.