What Is Bibasilar Atelectasis?
What is bibasilar atelectasis?
Causes of bibasilar electasis
Bibasilar atelectasis symptoms
Treatment options for bibasilar electasis
Treatment of bibasilar atelectasis
Our lungs are known to be one of the hardest working parts of the body. Without putting in too much effort for most individuals, the lungs, as we all know, tend to expand as well as contract up to 20 times every minute for the process of exchanging carbon dioxides with oxygen, which is required for the body. If there is an obstruction in this process, then it leads to bibasilar atelectasis.
What Is Bibasilar Atelectasis?
Bibasilar atelectasis is known to be a condition that tends to occur when an individual suffers from a partial or complete collapse of either one or both of the lungs. This type of collapse of the lungs is known to occur when the small air sacs which are present in the lungs become deflated. These small sacs of air are also known as alveoli. This particular medical condition is known to occur in those who have undergone surgery for a breathing related disorder, obese individuals, and any kind of trauma caused to the lungs.
Our body is known to have two lungs, the one on the right and one on the left side. Both of these are said to contain lobes, wherein the left one has two lobes and the right one has three lobes. The tiny air sacs, which are in the shape of a balloon, are said to contain blood vessels that are arranged in small clusters throughout the lungs, and these are known as alveoli. They tend to deflate abnormally when there is any kind of obstruction in the airflow with bibasilar atelectasis. It is said to affect the bottom portion of the lungs and it becomes life-threatening or fatal when there is not enough oxygen being sent out to the other parts of the body. Even though it may sound very similar to pneumothorax, bibasilar atelectasis is said to be caused due to various conditions and situations. However, pneumothorax is said to lead to bibasilar atelectasis.
There are various ways in which an obstruction to the airflow can occur within the portion of the lungs. Bibasilar atelectasis is very commonly seen as an occurrence after a surgery that has involved the use of a general form of anesthesia, mostly in chest or abdominal surgery. But there are also additional causes which can lead to this medical condition:
- Presence of a foreign body: There can be an obstruction of the proper functioning of the lung, which can also come in the form of inhaling an allergen that can lead to the collapse of the lung, be it either a partial or complete collapse.
- Use of general anesthesia: One of the very common causes of bibasilar atelectasis is the effect of using a general form of anesthesia on a patient during a surgical procedure. Apart from preventing the pain sensors, anesthesia also controls the flow of blood, heart rate, and blood pressure. Anesthesia is also known to control the lung’s breathing technique. The ability of taking in air starts to reduce with this particular state, thereby leading to bibasilar atelectasis.
- Narrowing of the airways: Certain health issues, which can include fungal infections or tuberculosis, have a tendency to cause a narrowing of the air passages. This normally happens due to scarring.
- Trauma: When there is a direct hit or impact to the lungs or the ribs due to an accident, gunshot, fight, or stabbing, it can lead to compression of the lungs.
- Clotting of the blood: Blood clotting is also deemed as another cause of bibasilar atelectasis, if the blood starts to escape the bloodstream and then enters the lungs. This is known to be mostly caused due to a blunt force trauma to the chest region.
- Damage caused to the lungs: When there is damage caused to the lungs, this could also lead to bibasilar atelectasis. Air is known to escape from the lungs into the space that is present in between the wall of the chest and the lungs. It can be caused due to certain medical conditions such as pneumonia or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
- Mucus plug: While performing a surgery, the lungs are known to respond to the medications by reducing their rate of inflation. This in turn allows for the mucus to gather and collect in the airways. Doctors will tend to use the method of suction for removal of the mucus, but there are chances that some of it could still be collected there afterwards. Then, the doctor would advise to carry out deep breathing exercises during the recovery stage to expel the mucus completely. This mucus plug is known to commonly occur in patients suffering from asthma or cystic fibrosis conditions.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, a few of the other causes which tend to disrupt the normal functioning of the lungs and result in bibasilar atelectasis include a tumor present inside the lung, obesity or weight gain, an increase in the use of cough suppressants, which can be either over-the-counter ones or prescribed ones, and, lastly, an increase in pressure on the lungs.
Bibasilar atelectasis is said to cause an impact only on a small portion of the lungs, which is usually the bottom portion, and, hence, it is generally asymptomatic. If it becomes greater or the entire lung gets affected, one should make a note of some of the key symptoms they may experience, including: excessive or continuous instances of coughing; fever; anxiety attacks; sputum; difficulty breathing properly and, in certain cases, the breathing may become rapid and shallow; there would be discoloration of the skin; the heartbeat would become rapid; wheezing sound; chest expansion would reduce; and, also, the individual would feel a severe amount of pain in the chest.
One of the primary symptoms to note here is that breathing would become difficult for the individual.
The main focus of treating bibasilar atelectasis would be to first identify what has been causing it to occur. If the cause of this issue is a blockage, the doctor would look to remove the blockage with the help of medications, suction processes, or, in other cases, it can be treated with the help of surgery. The doctor may need to go in for suctioning out the excess mucus so as to allow the person to take in deep breaths and also clear out the lungs. If the obstruction is a tumor, then the individual would need to go in for radiation, chemotherapy, or use any other medications to get rid of the tumor or stop the progression of the tumor. Once the main cause has been treated, the doctor can also prescribe certain other additional treatment options to help the symptoms gradually clear off. The additional forms of treatment include the use of extra oxygen or antibiotics to help clear out the infections from the lungs.
Bibasilar atelectasis can be avoided by not taking in any kind of foreign object or avoiding the inhalation of any foreign allergen. Also, one should avoid the intake of tobacco and also the use of anesthetic vices when it is not needed. Since most of the time the cases cannot be prevented due to the health condition of the individual or the surgical methods, one can take other steps to lower their risk:
- Try to carry out deep breathing exercises on a regular basis.
- Try to use positive expiratory pressure related devices, which would be beneficial when it is required.
- Be sure to record any changes in the breathing pattern or symptoms.
- Maintain positions which are said to promote the drainage of mucus.