Atelektazi Nedir

What is Atelectasis?

Atelectasis is a condition in which a certain area or all of the lungs collapse due to obstruction of the bronchi or alveoli in the respiratory system. This can affect the functionality of the respiratory system. Atelectasis can occur as a result of internal obstruction of the bronchi, external pressure from non-bronchial causes or various diseases.

The respiratory system starts with the trachea (windpipe) and continues with the bronchi and alveoli. Alveoli are the sacs where gas exchange takes place. The bronchi can be blocked internally by mucus plugs, tumors or foreign bodies, but they can also be blocked externally by tumors, enlarged blood vessels or enlarged lymph nodes. This leads to asphyxiation of the affected area and collapse of the lung tissue. Atelectasis can also develop after surgery or chest diseases. Smoking is also a risk factor.

Symptoms of atelectasis can occur in combination with symptoms of the associated disease. These symptoms may include:

Shortness of breath
Feeling hungry for air
Shallow and fast breathing
Prolonged cough

The diagnosis of atelectasis is clarified by a detailed medical history and physical examination, followed by various tests. Among the methods used to make a diagnosis are the following:

Lung X-ray: Atelectasis is usually first detected by X-ray.
Computed Tomography (CT): Used to obtain a detailed image of the lung.
Arterial Blood Gas Analysis: Assesses blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels to determine the degree of respiratory distress.
Bronchoscopy: Detects obstructions by examining the bronchi with the help of a camera.

Treatment of atelectasis mainly focuses on treating the underlying cause. If it is associated with mucus plugs, medications that promote coughing may be used. Respiratory physiotherapy can help clear mucus, increase lung capacity and improve airflow. If caused by infection, appropriate antibiotics are prescribed.

Post-operative complications may be treated with supplemental oxygen. In case of obstruction caused by a foreign body, it can be removed by bronchoscopy. In chronic atelectasis (prolonged collapse), surgery may be required to remove the affected area. Such treatments both help to cure the disease and reduce the risk of recurrent infections in the future.