To diagnose atelectasis and determine the underlying cause, your doctor may order tests, including:
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- Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray usually can diagnose atelectasis. Occasionally, a foreign body, a common cause of obstructive atelectasis in children and adults, may be seen on this type of imaging.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.