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Lung diseases

Bibasilar dependent atelectasis

10/02/2007

Question:

Before a recent surgery for acute appendicitis, a CT showed that "the lung bases demonstrate bibasilar dependent atelectasis." Is this a reason for concern? Should my physician be treating me for this?

Answer:

Atelectasis means that the lung does not fully expand. There can be many reasons for this, some serious and some not so serious. A frequent cause for atelectasis is not taking deep breaths, often due to pain in the chest or abdomen (such as can happen with appendicitis). If a chest x-ray is normal after the abdominal pain resolves, no additional evaluation is generally required.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University