Atelectasis Essay

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Prevention and Treatment of Atelectasis What is atelectasis? Atelectasis is when the lung completely or partially collapses. It can develop in many respiratory problems. Atelectasis develops when the alveoli, which are tiny air sacs, within the lung do not inflate. Atelectasis affects the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your lungs, which can lead it to become a very severe problem if one develops it (Mayo Clinic Staff). Lack of deep breaths will result in decreased secretion of surfactant into alveoli in some areas. Decreased level of surfactant leads to collapse of the alveoli (atelectasis). When alveoli collapse, there is less surface area for diffusion of oxygen into the bloodstream. When enough alveoli are atelectatic, oxygen delivery will be reduced. Airless alveoli are an ideal place for microorganisms to grow. (Kerry’s Notes) Atelectasis may occur in any person who does not periodically take deep breaths. Circumstances of which may alter the ability to take these deep breaths are: obesity, neuromuscular disorders, sedation, spinal cord injuries, immobilization, and upper abdominal surgery. If a person periodically takes the deep breaths necessary to inflate their lungs, they can prevent themselves from getting atelectasis. Ten or more deep breaths or sighs should be taken each hour to ensure proper inflation of the lungs and alveoli. There are different types of atelectasis which may develop in people. Atelectasis caused by a blocked airway is called obstructive atelectasis. One cause of obstructive atelectasis is a mucus plug. Mucus plugs often occur during and after surgery. During surgery, drugs are given to make the lungs inflate less than they normally do, and as a result, secretions build up in the airways. Although suctioning these areas during surgery helps with clearing secretions, they may continue to build up

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