Pulmonary atelectasis in newborn infants: etiology and radiological aspects
Abstract in English

Beatriz Regina Alvares, Inês Minitti Rodrigues Pereira, Maria Aparecida Mezzacappa, Mônica Sanchez Stopiglia, Camila da Silva Pires


AIMS: To describe the main risk factors and the radiological findings of pulmonary atelectasis in newborns.
SOURCE OF DATA: A literature review was conducted for the period of 2010/2011, through books and articles published over the past 30 years, obtained from the databases PubMed, SciELO and BIREME, using the descriptors: pulmonary atelectasis, diagnosis, infant, neonate, newborn.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS: Radiological signs of pulmonary atelectasis are related to volume loss, with fissural, hilar and mediastinal displacement, and diaphragmatic elevation toward the affected lung lobe or segment. The ribs of the affected hemithorax may have diminished spaces. Compensatory hyperinflation of the lung is present and the collapsed portions show increased radiopacity, with a triangular shape in at least one of radiographic projections. In newborn infants, the main etiological factors are mechanical ventilation with positive pressure, pneumonia, meconium aspiration syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, pleural effusion and pneumothorax.
CONCLUSIONS: Presence of pulmonary atelectasis is an important complication in infants admitted to neonatal intensive care unit. Radiology has an important role in the diagnosis and management of these patients.



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