Atelactasis: Symptom and Causes


Symptoms that may occur if a large area has collapsed include:
  • Rapid breathing                                             
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Taking shallow breaths
  • Coughing
  • Mild fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Blueness of the lips or nails
  • Wheezing


Atelectasis is caused by a blockage of the air passages (bronchus or bronchioles) or by pressure on the outside of the lung. It is common after surgery, or in patients who were in the hospital.
Risk factors for developing atelectasis include:
  • Anesthesia
  • Foreign object in the airway (most common in children)
  • Lung diseases
  • Mucus that plugs the airway
  • Prolonged bed rest
  • Shallow breathing (may be caused by painful breathing)
  • Tumors that block an airway

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