Q: What is resorption atelectasis?
Answer: When a patient breathes high concentration of oxygen, it replaces nitrogen (room air) in the alveoli of the lungs. Nitrogen is very poorly soluble in blood, it stays in the alveoli and keeps alveoli open. Replacing nitrogen with oxygen causes alveoli to collapse, causing atelectasis.
Clinical significance: Prolong high preoxygenation (denitrogenation) prior to intubation may decrease the time to desaturation if intubation is delayed.
Woodring JH, Reed JC. Types and mechanisms of pulmonary atelectasis. Woodring JH1, Reed JC. J Thorac Imaging. 1996 Spring;11(2):92-108.