According to the http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/atelectasis, Atelectasis can be the result of an obstruction or a blockage of the person’s airways. The obstacle affects the tiny air sacks called alveoli which are very thin-walled and contain a rich blood supply. The alveoli are very important for lung function. Their purpose is to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. This means that if the airways are blocked by a mucous “plug,” a foreign object or even a tumor, the alveoli cannot fill with air and lung tissue could collapse.
So, when and why does this happen?
Atelectasis may be congenital; occurring at birth if the baby’s lungs fail to expand. This could also be caused by a bronchial obstruction or the absence of surfactant (a substance secreted by alveoli that maintains the stability of lung tissue by reducing the surface tension of fluids that coat the lung).Gas exchange is affected due to the reduced surface area. If it is severe, a collapse could occur.
It may also occur in any one person as a complication associated with surgery. This is especially true if the surgery involves the chest or abdominal regions. The reason for this is that surgery patients typically take shallower breaths when under sedation.
The third way is if the person gets injured; fractured ribs are a good example.
No matter how your client gets Atelectasis, it is your responsibility to monitor it and to take care of them to the best of your ability. Remember With Age Comes Respect!