A chest X-ray usually can diagnose atelectasis. Symptoms of a respiratory infection, especially pneumonia, on a child's chest X-ray may indicate a foreign body, the most common cause of obstructive atelectasis in children.
To determine the underlying cause, your doctor may order other tests, including:
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- CT scan. CT is more sensitive than plain X-ray in detecting atelectasis because it can measure lung volumes in all or part of a lung. A CT scan can also help determine whether a tumor may have caused your lung to collapse — something that may not show up on a regular X-ray.
- Ultrasound. Ultrasound may be used to look for fluid accumulation outside the lungs that is compressing the lung tissue. It may also help guide the removal of that fluid.
- Oximetry. This simple test uses a small device placed on one of your fingers to measure the oxygen saturation in your blood.
- Bronchoscopy. A flexible, lighted tube threaded down your throat enables your doctor to see and possibly remove, at least partially, obstructions in your airway, such as a mucus plug, tumor or foreign body.
- Duggana M, et al. Atelectasis in the perioperative patient. Current Opinions in Anaesthesiology. 2007;20:37.
- Johnson MM, et al. Overview of the management of postoperative pulmonary complications. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 4, 2012.
- O'donnell AE. Bronchiectasis, Atelectasis, Cysts, and Localized Lung Disorders. Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed June 4, 2012.
- Smetana GW, et al. Strategies to reduce postoperative pulmonary complications. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 6, 2012.
- Limper AH (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 6, 2012.
- Rosenow EC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 10, 2012.
- Stark P et al. Atelectasis: Types and pathogenesis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 31, 2012.