Our purpose in this presentation is to emphasize the fact that pulmonary atelectasis, partial or massive, is a common postoperative pulmonary complication and presents a striking and characteristic roentgenologic and clinical picture. No doubt the majority of those postoperative conditions which have been regarded previously as either aspiration or postoperative pneumonia, bronchitis or bronchopneumonia, have been cases of atelectasis. In other words, the rarity of this condition, as judged by the number of reported cases, is apparent and not real.
Postoperative pulmonary atelectasis is a condition in which deflation occurs in a previously well-aerated lung. This condition comes on in from twelve to forty-eight hours after operation and involves the entire lung or any part of it.Jackson and Lee1 suggest the term "atelectasis" as being more accurately descriptive of this condition, and hold that the term "collapse" should be reserved for those cases caused by an increased