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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Atelectasis: Prevention & Expectations
      Category : Health Centers > Respiratory System (Lungs and Breathing)


Alternate Names : Airless Lung

Atelectasis | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the condition?

In some cases, a person may be able to reduce his or her risk for this condition by exercising regularly and by not smoking or breathing in second-hand smoke.

Atelectasis can also be a complication of surgery. When possible, healthcare providers should:

  • have the person breathe on his or her own after surgery, rather than relying on a ventilator, which is an artificial breathing machine
  • limit the time a person spends under anesthesia
  • help the person breathe deeply, cough, and walk around right after surgery
  • use incentive spirometers, which are inexpensive plastic meters, to increase airflow into the lungs after the surgery
  • What are the long-term effects of the condition?

    The long-term effects are often related to the cause. Atelectasis due to surgery should have no long-term effects. Once treated with breathing exercises, the lung should function well again. Chronic illnesses, such as emphysema or cystic fibrosis, may result in atelectasis that never completely resolves. Scar tissue can form inside of the lung as a result of chronic atelectasis. These scarred areas may never function well again.

    What are the risks to others?

    People with congenital lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, may pass a risk of atelectasis on to their children.

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    Atelectasis: Diagnosis & Tests


    Atelectasis: Treatment & Monitoring

    Author: Vincent J. Toups, MD
    Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 10/10/02

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