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My 6 year old son was recently diagnosed with atalectisis. Please explain this disorder. Will this affect peak flow meter results? Please explain what fev 1 is and what is a normal value?


Atelectasis refers to collapse of lung units. Generally speaking, atelectasis is caused by obstruction of a small distal airway, such as might occur with a pneumonia or bronchitis. Atelectasis may occur for any of a variety of reasons, however. In most cases, if the underlying condition resolves, the atelectasis also goes away.

As far as lung function goes, atelectasis may, if widespread, result in alterations of pulmonary function tests, but this is usually obvious from the clinical situation. In mild cases, I would not expect atelectasis to markedly alter PFTs such as the FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 second, or the amount of air that a person can blow out as hard as they can in one second). The normal value for FEV1 varies with age, height, weight, gender, and race; some experts also factor other variables in as well. Since I am not a pediatric pulmonologist, I cannot tell you the normal range for FEV1 in children, but you should be able to get this information from the lab that is testing your son.

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Go to the Lung Center health topic.