Treatment for collapsed lung in critically ill patients. Selective intrabronchial air insufflation using the fiberoptic bronchoscope

Chest. 1990 Feb;97(2):435-8. doi: 10.1378/chest.97.2.435.


A new, simpler method to re-expand collapsed lungs was introduced in 14 procedures in 12 critically ill patients. To close the bronchus, we wedge the fiberoptic bronchoscope into each segment or subsegment of the collapsed lung instead of using a balloon cuff. Room air was then insufflated into the atelectatic alveoli after repetitive sputum suctioning and bronchial washing with normal saline solution. Complete re-expansion was achieved in 12 of the 14 procedures and partial in two. The average alveolar-arterial oxygen pressure difference (P[A-a]O2) declined from 217.5 before the procedure to 200.3, 150.0 and 152.2, respectively at 30 minutes, 12 hours and 24 hours after. There were no complications.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bronchoscopes*
  • Female
  • Fiber Optic Technology / instrumentation
  • Humans
  • Insufflation / methods*
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Atelectasis / therapy*