Bibasilar Atelectasis

Bibasilar atelectasis is a condition characterized by the collapse of lung tissue, which eventually leads to malfunctions in the respiratory processes. The disorder features a collapsed or airless state of the lungs. It can affect the complete lung or a part of it, and can be persistent or acute.

Patients  typically elicit collapse of the alveoli, which are the tiny air pockets present in the lungs. This causes disruption of breathing capabilities of the affected part of lung. Bibasilar atelectasis can be accompanied by a variety of other disorders such as asthma, pneumonia, and COPD. It may also affect individuals who have undergone surgery under general anesthesia.

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Symptoms of bibasilar atelectasis

A few signs and symptoms of bibasilar atelectasis are listed below:

  • Acute form of bibasilar atelectasis which causes unexpected clogging of the bronchus can lead to varied signs like cyanosis, elevated body temperatures, shock, dyspnea, or lowered blood pressure
  • Chronic or persistent bibasilar atelectasis may not cause any visible symptoms. However, it can slowly lead to development of dyspnea and weakness.
  • Bibasilar atelectasis may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, elevated shortness of breath, and lowered sounds of breathing

An X-ray examination of the collapsed part of the lung will reveal a sunken or collapsed section. If the entire lung has collapsed then the x-ray will reveal slight deviation of the trachea, heart, and mediastinum towards the sunken area. The diaphragm may also elevated towards this region.

If a doctor is unable to find the exact cause of bibasilar atelectasis, then further diagnostic tests like bronchoscopy may be performed so as to determine the presence of a hindering neoplasm or some foreign substances.

Causes of bibasilar atelectasis

Bibasilar atelectasis can be caused because of obstruction of the major airways and bronchioles. This can happen due to presence of fluid in pleural space, or due to pressure of a tumor situated outside the lung.

Fetal form of bibasilar atelectasis is characterized by reduced expansion of lungs during birth. This can be caused by several factors including decreased nervous stimulus to breathing or crying; bronchial obstruction by a plug of mucus; and premature birth. It can also result from fetal hypoxia which may be caused due to increased maternal sedation during labor and child delivery.

Bibasilar atelectasis in older adults can result from airways blockage by tumor emissions, etc. It may also be caused due to loss of ability to breathe deeply, which in turn can result from neuromuscular disorder, or as a side effect of surgery.

Bibasilar Atelectasis Treatment

  • Trachea suctioning is used to treat bibasilar atelectasis in newborns. The process involves opening up the airways, positive pressure breathing, and administration of oxygen
  • Acute cases of bibasilar atelectasis are treated via various methods including bronchoscopy, coughing, and suctioning. Blocked airways are cleared via chest physiotherapy.
  • Any secondary illnesses resulting from bibasilar atelectasis are treated with antibiotics
  • Prolonged or chronic cases of bibasilar atelectasis involves surgical intervention wherein the affected lobe is removed.
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