Lobar collapse (summary)

Lobar collapse is relatively common and occurs following obstruction of a bronchus. Gas is resorbed from the lung parenchyma distal to the obstruction resulting in the collapse of the lung, with volume reduction and negative mass effect.

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This is a summary article; read more in our article on lobar collapse.

Summary

  • epidemiology
    • broad and dependent on the underlying cause
      • young children: foreign body
      • adolescent: asthma
      • elderly patient: cancer
  • presentation
    • dependent on the underlying cause
      • acute presentations will likely result in breathlessness
      • more chronic collapse may remain asymptomatic
        • symptoms may relate to the underlying cause, e.g. weight loss and cough
  • pathophysiology
    • collapse occurs when the bronchus is obstructed
      • distal gas is absorbed
      • the volume of the lung decreases
      • if all gas is absorbed and obstruction is complete, a tiny wedge of pulmonary parenchyma remains
    • causes
  • investigation
    • chest X-ray
      • confirms collapse
    • blood work for infection or possible cancer
    • CT chest with contrast
      • assess an obstructing or compressing cancer
    • rigid bronchoscopy to locate and remove a foreign body
    • flexible bronchoscopy for suspected cancer to allow biopsy
  • treatment
    • dependent on the cause of the collapse
      • foreign body should be removed
      • mucus may respond to chest physiotherapy​
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Article information

rID: 30465
System: Chest
Section: Approach
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Lobar atelectasis (summary)

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Cases and figures

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    Mucous plug left ...
    Case 1: left lung collapse (mucus plug)
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    Case: right upper lobe collapse
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    Left upper lobe c...
    Case 3: left upper lobe collapse
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    Case 4: left lower lobe collapse
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    Case 5: left lower lobe collapse (peanut)
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    Case 6: right upper lobe collapse (cancer)
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