What is middle lobe syndrome (recurrent atelectasis)?

Updated: Oct 22, 2020
  • Author: Tarun Madappa, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Nader Kamangar, MD, FACP, FCCP, FCCM  more...
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Middle lobe syndrome is a disorder of recurrent or fixed atelectasis involving the right middle lobe and/or lingula. It can result from either extraluminal (bronchial compression by surrounding lymph nodes) or by intraluminal bronchial obstruction. It may develop in the presence of a patent lobar bronchus without identifiable obstruction. Inflammatory processes and defects in the bronchial anatomy and collateral ventilation have been designated as the nonobstructive causes of middle lobe syndrome. [2] Timely medical intervention with fiberoptic bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage in patients, particularly children, with middle lung syndrome may prevent the long-term consequence of bronchiectasis. Bronchiectasis in turn may be responsible for recurrent infections and, ultimately, the unfavorable outcome of chronic atelectasis. [3]

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