Mild Dependent Atelectasis


Lungs ensure that your body gets the oxygen it has to work. You inhale air and the air sacs in the lungs fill with this air. The oxygen in the air passes through the capillaries which exist in the walls of the air sacs.

While the oxygen goes into the bloodstream, the CO2 from the body gets in the lungs through the blood vessels and is exhaled out.

What is Mild Dependent Atelectasis?

When lungs do not operate at their best, organs start to get impacted since of the decline in oxygen being provided. Atelectasis is the condition when the lungs do not work effectively.

Atelectasis is likewise known as a collapsed lung or partly collapsed lung. When a lung collapses, even partly, it impacts the quality of oxygen that is carried to various organs.

If the lungs are impacted partially, this condition is called mild reliant atelectasis. Mild reliant frequently does not affect the quality of life. If the condition is minor, though the lungs are damaged, it does not affect the quality of life.

Information verified by the team.

When the condition is not that severe, you might not even feel the symptoms. In case the atelectasis is severe, then the organs tend to be denied of oxygen and it can result in additional complications.

Mild subsegmental atelectasis is a kind of atelectasis where the left lobe of the lungs gets affected. In this type, linear fissures appear on the lung and show up under chest X-rays.

The diagnosis of atelectasis depends upon the cause. In adults, it is normally temporary and solves without treatment as soon as the condition triggering the atelectasis heals. If the lungs remain deflated for a longer period, it may become tough for the lungs to clear of mucus. That delay could result in infections like pneumonia.

Atelectasis in children or children can show deadly, especially if it impacts a big part of the lungs. Individuals with lung diseases like emphysema can likewise be easily impacted with atelectasis.

Causes of Mild Dependent Atelectasis

Coughing and deep breathing is thought about a preventive measure for atelectasis. Therefore any condition that does not let you breathe deeply or perhaps cough to clear mucus can lead to atelectasis.

Often atelectasis takes place after other illnesses or treatments. For example, atelectasis can take place after a surgery. Medications or pain after abdominal surgery prevent you from taking deep breaths and even coughing. In such times, lungs are rather likely to deflate.

Other causes include:

  • pressure outside the lung like a tumor or a growth pushing against the lung, a bone defect or a build up of fluid in between the ribs and the lungs (pleural effusion).
  • breathing with the help of a ventilator.
  • lung disorders like respiratory distress syndrome, lung cancer, chronic obstructive lung disease (when dependant atelectasis occurs in lung base), cystic fibrosis and in uncommon cases, even asthma.
  • a physical obstruction like breathing in a peanut or a badly positioned ventilator tube.

If you suffer from any of these conditions, you are at risk for atelectasis. This risk will get intensified if you are a cigarette smoker (don’t smoke!) and are overweight.

Symptoms of Mild Dependent Atelectasis

Shortness of breath, fatigue, anxiety, restlessness and in more severe cases lips and skin turning blue are all symptoms. If the lung area that has actually collapsed is small, there might be no symptoms. In children, anxiety and getting upset is a crucial symptom.

This condition is diagnosed with the help a health examination. Physicians may likewise do treatments like a chest CT scan, bronchoscopy, or perhaps a chest X ray.

The condition is treated based upon what is triggering the condition. If the pressure on the lungs is due to cause on the exterior like a growth or blockage, that condition is resolved. Getting rid of the cause frequently helps the atelectasis go away.

Mild Dependent Atelectasis and Treatments

Given that very little reliant atelectasis impacts just a small part of the lungs, the symptoms are usually not too severe. Most patients only end up being conscious of the condition when they undergo an imaging test to eliminate the possibility for another medical condition.

In case you do experience these symptoms, your doctor may conduct a physical examination, before asking you to go through tests like an x-ray, an ultrasound or a CT scan of the chest.

The findings of the tests will help your doctor identify the suitable treatment path. Numerous circumstances of very little dependent atelectasis do not need any treatment, as the problem gets resolved without treatment (don’t despair).

  1. In case the atelectasis is caused by a clog, you will have to undergo a medical procedure called a bronchoscopy.
  2. Chest physiotherapy is likewise rather efficient in treating atelectasis. Your doctor will show you deep breathing techniques which need to get your lungs to broaden.
  3. When lying down, you might be asked to guarantee that your head is below the level of your heart. This causes the mucus to recede from the bottom of your lungs.
  4. If needed, your doctor may prescribe a few medications, to deal with the causes and symptoms of atelectasis. These generally include pain relievers, breathed in bronchodilators and acetylcysteine.

Though very little reliant atelectasis is not a serious condition, it ought to be examined and treated by a doctor with no delay.

Risk Factors of Mild Dependant Atelectasis

The meaning of the term atelectasis implies a partial or total collapse of the lung resulting in a reduced lung capability. There are many different types of atelectasis. They are categorized as obstructive and non-obstructive atelectasis, depending upon the underlying cause.

Of these various types of atelectasis, dependant atelectasis or gravity dependant atelectasis is a fairly benign kind of atelectasis that normally requires no treatment. It is caused by small areas of your lung being unable to broaden totally when you are lying down.

The small portion of the lung that collapses under the impact of gravity normally re-expands on its own (don’t despair) once you stand or change your position. It is typically identified during a CT scan of the chest.

Particular persons are at a greater risk of developing this form of atelectasis. The risk factors include:

  • Anesthesia during surgery.
  • Illness of the airways such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. They lead to a narrowing of the air passages which have the tendency to become blocked quickly and make breathing challenging.
  • Lung tissue illness that impact the structure of the lungs and make it unable to broaden completely. They are usually caused by clotting, scarring or inflammation of the blood vessels and affect the lungs.
  • Extended bed rest without altering position for extended periods of time.
  • Shallow breathing as a result of injury to the chest that causes painful breathing.

Considering that dependant atelectasis is typically a mild type of this condition, symptoms are usually not present. When present, symptoms will typically occur while lying down and may include: difficulty in breathing, chest pain, cough.

This type of atelectasis is normally detected during a chest computerized tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. A CT scan uses x-rays to take in-depth cross-sectional images of the chest and the lungs. In specific cases, a contrast color may be injected prior to the scan to give a more in-depth image that can help the doctor with the diagnosis.

Lungs diagram

As with any type of atelectasis, the objective of treatment is to re-expand the collapsed part of the lung. Given that dependant atelectasis just occurs under the impact of gravity while the individual is lying down, it normally cleans up by itself after the individual changes position and does not require additional treatment.

Treatment is typically restricted to dealing with the underlying condition that has actually caused the atelectasis to occur. Specific actions nevertheless, may be required to supply symptomatic relief. These include:

  • Lying down on the healthy side will enable the collapsed portion to re-expand under the impact of gravity.
  • Periodic changes of position while lying down.
  • Performing deep breathing exercises. The doctor might suggest the use of reward spirometry devices while performing these exercises.
  • If there is congestion of the bronchial passages, clapping on the chest areas might avoid the buildup of mucus plugs which can even more intensify the condition.
  • A bronchoscope might be used to clear the air passages of any accumulated mucus if needed.

The diagnosis for those experiencing this form of atelectasis readies with the condition generally cleaning up with a change in posture. The lungs are normally efficient in offseting any minor loss of lung function and just more damage to the lungs by any underlying condition can make the condition even worse.


Atelectasis frequently has few symptoms if it develops gradually or includes just a small part of the lung. On the other hand, if the condition develops rapidly or impacts a larger portion of shock, symptoms might be remarkable and even cause shock. Atelectasis normally takes place unilaterally, suggesting in either one lung or the other.

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Comments: 5
  1. Georgia DeClue

    I have atelectasis in both lungs, I also have emphysema! I also have swelling on my ribs, my arms and back, what can this mean?

  2. Reyus Mammadli (Health Care Advisor) (author)

    Consultation with a specialist physician (and related methods of diagnosing and analyzing your lungs) will help to prescribe the correct treatment.

    Do not forget that the appointment of drugs, exercise, regimen and diet also depends on age, gender, general physical condition of the patient and other factors.

    I wish you healing. Consult a doctor.

  3. Sinthia

    The apex is the top of the lung. Peaks suggests both lungs. Dependent ways “by gravity” which indicates on the bottom depending on how you were laying. Atelectasis is collapse of the alveoli which is their normal state when they are not filled with air. So, generally, when you put down the top of your lungs collapsed a little with gravity. So, just a normal finding.

  4. Frida

    I just had a CT scan done. What does “lung apices are notable for mild dependent atelectasis” mean?

  5. Dave Cousteau

    The peak is the top of the lung. Peaks means both lungs. Reliant methods “by gravity” which means on the bottom depending upon how you were laying. Atelectasis is collapse of the alveoli which is their normal state when they are not full of air. So, basically, when you set the top of your lungs collapsed a little with gravity. So, simply a normal finding.

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