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Right Middle Lobe Syndrome Treatment & Management

  • Author: Nemr S Eid, MD, FAAP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Michael R Bye, MD  more...
Updated: Apr 17, 2015

Medical Care

Long-term follow-up of children with right middle lobe syndrome (RMLS) shows that most patients do not experience recurrent or persisting symptoms. This indicates that the first line of treatment in all cases is conservative medical management, except in cases involving neoplastic origin and those with bronchiectasis.

Chest physical therapy and postural drainage are the hallmarks of therapy.

Treat the asthmatic child with aggressive anti-inflammatory therapy such as inhaled steroids. Consider systemic steroids. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma have been established.[3]

Provide the patient with chest physical therapy and postural drainage. In unresponsive patients or patients who have a predisposition to airway colonization, an appropriate antibiotic, as determined by a bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) culture, should be added to their regimen.

Patients with fungal infections (eg, histoplasmosis) or tuberculous infections who have hilar adenopathy and complete blockage of their right middle lobe should be treated aggressively. The addition of systemic corticosteroids may be necessary.


Surgical Care


Lobectomy is indicated in cases of malignancy and bronchiectasis that are unresponsive to medical therapy.

Only perform lobectomy when right middle lobe syndrome is associated with systemic symptoms such as failure to thrive, persistent cough, and recurrent fever or when chronic infection threatens the remainder of the lung.


Avoid bronchography because of potential risks to the patient unless surgery is seriously considered; therefore, always explore high-resolution CT imaging as an alternative.



Consultations may include a pediatric pulmonologist and/ or a pediatric infectious disease specialist.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Nemr S Eid, MD, FAAP, FCCP Professor of Pediatrics, University of Louisville School of Medicine; Director of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, Director of The Childhood Asthma Care and Education Center and the Cystic Fibrosis Center, Medical Director of Pediatric Respiratory Therapy, Kosair Children's Hospital

Nemr S Eid, MD, FAAP, FCCP is a member of the following medical societies: Kentucky Chapter of The American Academy of Pediatrics, Kentucky Pediatric Society, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society, Kentucky Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Michelle Eckerle University of Louisville School of Medicine

Michelle Eckerle is a member of the following medical societies: Kentucky Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Michael R Bye, MD Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine; Attending Physician, Pediatric Pulmonary Division, Women's and Children's Hospital of Buffalo

Michael R Bye, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Thomas Scanlin, MD Chief, Division of Pulmonary Medicine and Cystic Fibrosis Center, Department of Pediatrics, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Thomas Scanlin, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Society for Pediatric Research, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, American Thoracic Society, Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Heidi Connolly, MD Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry; Director, Pediatric Sleep Medicine Services, Strong Sleep Disorders Center

Heidi Connolly, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Thoracic Society, and Society of Critical Care Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Posteroanterior chest radiograph demonstrating right middle lobe collapse and infiltrate. Note blurred right heart border.
Lateral view chest radiograph showing a wedge-shaped density extending from the hilum anteriorly and inferiorly.
Chest CT scan showing extensive bronchiectasis of both medial and lateral segments of the right middle lobe.
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