QS Study

Atelectasis means a collapse of the alveoli. It can occur in localized areas of a lung in an entire lung lobe, or in an entire lung. It collapses of the expanded lung and also a defective expansion of the pulmonary alveoli at birth. It is very common after surgery. It is also a possible difficulty of other respiratory problems, including cystic fibrosis, inhaled foreign objects, lung tumors, fluid in the lung, respiratory weakness, and chest injuries.

Causes – It may be the result of a blocked airway (obstructive) or of pressure from outside the lung (nonobstructive).

It’s most common causes are –

(a) The total airway obstruction

(b) Lack of surfactant in the fluids lining the alveoli.

Fig: Atelectasis – collapse of the alveoli


There may be no obvious signs or symptoms of atelectasis, they may include:

  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Coughing