Lung Collapse occasionally takes place, most frequently after surgical operations, due to obstruction occurring in a bronchus. The air in the portion of lung on the far side of this is absorbed, and the lung simply collapses. It tends to occur chiefly in the right lower lobe, and it may come on one to four days after surgery.
Lung Collapse Symptoms
If the collapse is major, there is pain in the lower part of the chest behind the sternum (breastbone), accompanied by severe breathlessness, restlessness and a bluish tinge to the face. An increased rate of breathing, increased heart rate and fever may follow. This may be followed by considerable infection in the affected part. Unless relief is forthcoming soon, it is possible for permanent bronchiectasis to develop in the affected portion of lung.
Lung Collapse Treatment
In patients intending to undergo surgery, lung collapse can often be prevented by sensible measures taken beforehand. These include cessation of smoking, the doctor not operating on any patient with a chest infection, for there is a much higher risk of a mucus plug becoming lodged in an air passageway during or after the anesthetic. The patient should be encouraged to move about and cough as soon as possible after the operation, to dislodge any impending obstruction, such as mucus in the airways.
If collapse does occur, physiotherapy by a skilled practitioner may assist. Otherwise, investigation with the bronchoscope is essential. Antibiotics are needed if there is any delay in initiating therapy.