Lung - nontumor
Other nonneoplastic disease

Topic Completed: 1 October 2011

Revised: 30 January 2019, last major update October 2011

Copyright: (c) 2003-2017,, Inc.

PubMed search: pulmonary atelectasis [title]

Elliot Weisenberg, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 1,909
Page views in 2020 to date: 804
Table of Contents
Definition / general
Cite this page: Weisenberg E. Atelectasis. website. Accessed May 31st, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Incomplete expansion of lung or collapse of previously inflated lung, due to obstruction / resorption, compression or contraction
  • Obstruction: resorption of oxygen causes collapse and mediastinal shifts towards affected lung; due to mucus plugs, asthma, chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, postoperative changes, foreign bodies, but not usually due to tumors, which cause only subtotal obstruction
  • Compression: due to fluid (congestive heart failure), air (pneumothorax), tumor and blood; causes mediastinal shifts away from affected lung
  • Contraction: due to fibrosis (restrictive lung disease)
  • Patchy: due to loss of surfactant in acute respiratory distress syndrome
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