Revision 21 for 'Lobar lung collapse'

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Lobar lung collapse

Lobar collapse refers to collapse of an entire lobe of the lung. As such it is a sub type of atelectasis (although collapse is not entirely synonymous is atelectasis), which is a more generic term for 'incomplete expansion'. Individual lobes of the lung may collapse due to obstruction of the supplying bronchus. 

Causes include:

Radiographic features

Plain film

The appearance on chest x-ray varies according to the lobe involved, and are discussed separately. 

Some features however are generic markers of volume loss, and are helpful in directing ones attention to the collapse, as well as enabling distinction from opacification of the lobe without collapse (e.g. lobar pneumonia). These features include 5:

  • elevation of the ipsilateral hemidiaphragm
  • crowding of the ipsilateral ribs
  • shift of the mediastinum towards the side of atelectasis
  • crowding of pulmonary vessels or of air bronchograms
CT

Lobar collapse is usually trivially easy to identify on CT, but identification of the cause is not always easy, as the collapsed lung can make identification of an obstructing lesion difficult.  

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