Atelectasis Causes, Symptoms | Acute, Chronic Atelectasis Treatment


I just had a CT scan of my chest. The results showed an area of linear scarring or atelectasis in the anterior right mid lung as described in the report, the radiologist sent me. Should I be concerned and what does this mean?


Atelectasis is a disorder in which there occurs a collapse of the lung, and which does not allow an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Lung Collapse Causes

  • The main cause of atelectasis is a blockage or an obstruction of the bronchus or the bronchioles, due to force / pressure exerted on to the lung from air or fluid present in the pleural cavity, or by tumor pressing on to the lung.
  • Certain secretions also exert a pressure on the bronchus, blocking it.
  • Sometimes post operative reasons cause pressure on the lung.
  • Neuromuscular disease is another cause.

Symptoms of Lung Collapse

Dyspnea or breathing difficulty, increase in the body temperature,bluishness / cynosis,  and a reduction of the blood pressure, are the symptoms in an acute atelectasis

In chronic atelectasis, the individual may feel no symptoms, except,  mild dyspnea and weariness.

X-ray reveals a shadow in the section of the lung collapse. Bronchoscopy should be a part of the investigative and diagnostic techniques, to check for the presence of an obstructing tumor or a foreign body, if the reason for atelectasis remains unknown.

Treatment of Atelectasis:

Acute atelectasis is managed by eliminating the cause / obstruction (tumor or foreign body). For this, bronchoscopy and suctioning may be used.

Atelectasis due to brochial block with secretions, physiotherapy exercises of the chest is highly beneficial.

Chronic atelectasis, by and large, needs a surgical intervention and an excision of the collapsed segment of the lung.