SynopsisCodesDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsDrug Reaction DataReferences

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Contributors: Mary Anne Morgan MD
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Loss of lung volume due to the collapse of part of or the entire lung. Caused by airway obstruction, infection, tumor, sedation / general anesthesia, or inadequate ventilation. Atelectasis can be reversible or fixed, depending on the etiology. Characterized by cough, dyspnea, low grade fever, decreased breath sounds, dullness to percussion, tachypnea, and tachycardia.

Management focuses on underlying cause and includes manual chest physiotherapy, mechanical insufflation-exsufflation, mechanically assisted cough, intrapulmonary percussive ventilation, and intermittent positive pressure breathing. Surgery may be necessary for severe compressive atelectasis.


J98.11 – Atelectasis

46621007 – Atelectasis

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Pneumonia (eg, Viral pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae pneumonia)
  • Lung mass
  • Asbestosis
  • Hypoventilation due to neuromuscular disease, sedation, restrictive lung disease
  • Endobronchial tumor
  • Mucous plugs
  • Scar

Best Tests

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Updated:10/13/2016
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A medical illustration showing key findings of Atelectasis : Cough, Dyspnea, Dullness to percussion, Decreased breath sounds, HR increased, RR increased
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