Lung: lobe collapse


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  • Cause : chronic bronchitis, bronchopneumonia, other lung parenchymal diseases, pleural effusions or pneumothorax, prolonged lateral recumbency (hypostatic congestion).
  • Signs : respiratory distress.
  • Diagnosis : radiography
  • Treatment : manage underlying cause, lobectomy if irreversible collapse.
  • Prognosis : can be good with early treatment - depends on underlying cause.


Clinical signs

  • Tachypnea, difficulty breathing.
  • Cyanosis.
  • Lack of resonance on chest percussion if pleural fluid.
  • Signs of trauma.

Differential diagnosis



  • Good for hypostatic congestion.
  • Depends on underlying cause.

Expected response to treatment

  • Reinflation of lung lobe on radiographs within hours.
  • Improvement in clinical signs.

Reasons for treatment failure

  • Delayed treatment → irreversible collapse (fibrosis).
  • Infiltration of lung tissue, eg neoplasia.
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