What types of medical costs do patients with rounded atelectasis incur?

Treven Pyles

By Treven Pyles

Posted on July 01st, 2020

The outlook for patients with rounded atelectasis depends on the severity of the condition and how early they start treatment. Many patients encounter financial problems that cause delays and complications and further increase their medical costs.

The inhalation of sufficient quantities of asbestos fibers over protracted periods of time can lead to serious illnesses. Rounded atelectasis, also known as folded lung syndrome, is a form of pulmonary collapse. In many cases, patients with rounded atelectasis have a history of occupational asbestos exposure.

Industries such as shipbuilding and repair, power generation, manufacturing, construction, and coal mine, widely used asbestos in a diverse range of products. When asbestos-containing products are cut, drilled, or handled in any way that causes dust, it is extremely dangerous. Asbestos fibers are inhaled and can lodge in the lungs, causing a range of asbestos-related conditions with high medical costs later in life.

All types of asbestos fibers are associated with the development of major, irreversible asbestos-related scar formation. Rounded atelectasis can result from any type of pleural inflammatory reaction, with asbestos being the most common cause. As this fibrous tissue matures, it contracts with the lung causing pleural thickening, effusion, and parenchymal collapse. This form of atelectasis manifests as a lung nodule and can be confused with a neoplasm or pneumonia upon conventional radiologic examination.

Atelectasis is usually detected incidentally in asymptomatic patients with significant asbestos exposure

Most patients with rounded atelectasis are asymptomatic and the lesion is often discovered incidentally on chest imaging, where it typically appears as a scar-like mass, often in the lower lung zones, and can be confused with pulmonary cancer.

A B-Reader certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) can examine a chest X-ray and record certain changes or abnormalities caused by dust inhalation and fibers - on average, it costs between $200 and $400 for a B-Reader to check your chest X-rays and tell you exactly if the fibers are in your lungs, and how much damage they have done.

Treatment for atelectasis depends on the cause and severity of the collapse. If there is a tumor or other blockage, procedures to remove it will relieve the condition.

  • Surgery is a common treatment for obstruction removal - the cost of a bronchoscopy ranges from $749 to $1,196.
  • Drainage of pleural effusion - the cost ranges from $791 to $1,434.

Chest therapy may follow surgery to help patients learn deep breathing exercises to re-inflate the lung tissue - the cost of chest therapy varies depending on the length of the treatment.

The possible complications of atelectasis are associated with high health care costs

  • Pleural effusion - the cost of treating a pleural effusion adverse event for all severity levels ranges from $1,694 to $3,882
  • Emphysema - On average, patients diagnosed with emphysema, lose around $1,800 of their income each year as a direct result of their condition
  • Respiratory failure - the cost of providing mechanical ventilation to a patient with acute respiratory failure without pre-existing lung disease was $11,970 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY), while the same provision to a patient with pre-existing lung disease was $14,365 per QALY.

Rounded atelectasis is linked to pleural diseases, conditions that affect the thin tissue that lines your chest cavity and surrounds your lungs, the pleura. It can coexist with lung cancer or any condition causing pleural effusion and thickening.

For someone with lung cancer, mesothelioma, or pleural effusion triggering atelectasis, treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy to kill cancer cells and or shrink tumors - the cost of cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, can total as high as $12,000 a month.

Our attorneys can efficiently help you file a claim for asbestos exposure if you have cancer

If you have rounded atelectasis due to occupational asbestos exposure, it is important to know that you cannot file a claim, as only specific cancers make a person entitled to financial compensation from asbestos trust funds.

However, if you had rounded atelectasis and it progressed to lung cancer, we can help you file a claim for asbestos exposure. We work on what is known as a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not pay anything upfront, there are no out-of-pocket expenses, and we only get paid if you receive financial compensation.