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


Alternate Names : Airless Lung

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

What are the treatments for the condition?

Medicines are often used, depending on the problem. For instance, medicines can:

  • thin respiratory secretions during illnesses such as pneumonia
  • open the bronchial tubes
  • stimulate surfactant production
  • Controlling the pain in people with chest traumas or people who have undergone surgery is very important. This enables them to do deep breathing exercises, forcing air into their lungs. These exercises open the alveoli and reduce atelectasis.

    Some people receive relief from chest physical therapy. This can mechanically remove mucous blocking the airways through clapping, patting, and massaging the chest and back over the lungs. Sometimes suctioning the airway with a small plastic tube may help.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    The side effects of treatment are much less distressing than the atelectasis. Each medicine will have side effects. Suctioning can be hard to tolerate, but usually relieves the blockage quite well.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    After treatment, if the cause was short-term as in surgery, the lungs will usually recover fully. But, if the cause was cystic fibrosis or emphysema, the illness may persist and symptoms will recur.

    How is the condition monitored?

    Monitoring is done with regular physical exams and routine chest x-rays. Pulmonary function tests are done as needed. These tests measure how much air the lungs can hold. They also measure how well the lungs move air in and out, and how well they exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide.

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    Atelectasis: Prevention & Expectations


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

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