Right & Left Subsegmental Atelectasis Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Subsegmental atelectasis is a terminology that is used on Ct-scans and Chest X-rays to denote that a tiny portion of the lung is flattened or insufficiently expanded with air. This condition can be caused by a number of different medical conditions. Most of the time, this is a completely harmless discovery that has nothing to do with your symptoms. It indicates that a small portion of the lung is deflated and airless. Inflammation or mucus blockage of a tiny bronchus (the tube that transports air to the lungs) is a common reason. Subsegmental atelectasis might infrequently be caused by a growth or tumor. Each side of the lung consists of 10 segments or sections. Subsegmental refers to a segment that is collapsed to a smaller extent than the entire segment. When one or more segments completely collapse, the situation becomes more critical.

Subsegmental Atelectasis Definition

The term "subsegmental atelectasis" refers to a condition in which the volume of the lung is reduced as a result of an obstruction in the subsegmental or tiny bronchus. On a chest radiograph, the condition is visible as linear opacity. Subsegmental atelectasis frequently affects individuals with pulmonary embolism, hypoventilation, and respiratory tract infections.

Right & Left Subsegmental Atelectasis Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Right & Left Subsegmental Atelectasis 

Subsegmental atelectasis can occur on either the right or left side of the lungs. The right side of the lung has an upper, middle, and lower lobe. The left lung has two sections, or lobes: the upper and lower lobes. The lobes of the lung are further subdivided into smaller units known as segments. When a lung subsegment, which is somewhat smaller than a segment, collapses or dies, it is said to have subsegmental atelectasis.

Consequently, a failure or collapse of a subsegment of the right lung would be referred to as right subsegmental atelectasis, whilst a rupture or collapse of a subsegment of the left lung would be referred to as left subsegmental atelectasis. Subsegmental atelectasis is a condition that can affect either one of your lungs or both of them. The precise position of the subsegment that is impacted by the atelectasis will be determined by the underlying cause of the condition as well as any other factors that may be contributing to the condition.

Subsegmental Atelectasis Symptoms

Subsegmental atelectasis is typically asymptomatic and causes little to no distress in most patients. However, it can occasionally result in symptoms including coughing, difficulty breathing, and feeling short of breath.

On occasion, a fever will be present, but it will be much more noticeable if there is an infection present, such as tuberculosis or pneumonia. Walking-related shortness of breath is a common symptom in some patients with atelectasis, but it is less frequent in subsegmental atelectasis since such a small area is affected.

Subsegmental Atelectasis Causes

Atelectasis is most frequently caused by surgical procedures. The use of anesthesia to keep you unconscious during surgery means that you are unable to take breaths that are sufficiently deep to fill your lungs to capacity or cough forcefully enough to expel mucus from your lungs. This may result in obstructions or a lack of air in the alveoli, which may result in resorptive atelectasis.

Atelectasis can also result from other conditions, such as:

  • Accidental inhalation of a foreign body, such as a piece of food or a small toy part, is a major cause of lung obstructions in children.
  • The presence of pleural effusion is usually a symptom of a more serious underlying condition.
  • Tumors that are not malignant
  • Scarring of the lungs
  • Excessive mucus production leads to the formation of mucus plug

Subsegmental Atelectasis Treatment

Subsegmental atelectasis is often misdiagnosed as other lung disorders since it does not cause obvious symptoms. A correct diagnosis can be aided by a series of tests including a physical examination, chest X-ray, lung scan, and oximetry.

It usually heals on its own within a few days, thus treatment is unnecessary in the vast majority of cases. Due to the fact that just a tiny portion of the lungs are affected, the function of the lungs is not compromised, and the remaining healthy lung tissue takes over the job. Some conditions, however, may necessitate medical attention.

During chest physiotherapy, deep breathing exercises are used to expel mucus and phlegm from the lungs and chest cavity. In addition to that, it facilitates the process of reinflating the air sacs. In order to clear clogged secretion from the bronchi, postural drainage is crucial.

The usage of bronchodilator medications can be helpful in some situations. It works to dilate the bronchial tubes and make breathing easier. To restore normal alveolar function following a fever, a brief course of antibiotic medication is recommended.

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