Atelectasis is a collapse of lung tissue affecting part or all of one lung. A condition where the alveoli are deflated. Acute atelectasis may occur as a post-operative complication or as a result of surfactant deficiency. Surfactant is a mucus coating the alveoli of the lungs decreasing surface tension and reducing the force required to inflate the alveoli.
In premature neonates, this leads to infant respiratory distres syndrome.
Atelectisis (collapsed alveoli) prevent adequate and effeicient oxygenation of the body’s tissues and organs. Gas exchange from alveoli in the lungs to hemoglobin of the red blood cells of the capillaries at the lungs is impaired. Atelectisis prevents or impairs the respiratory exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen.
Dirckx, John H. 1997. Stedman’s concise medical dictionary for the health professions. 3rd ed. Baltimore, USA.