What is lung consolidation?
Consolidation of the lung is simply a “solidification” of the lung tissue due to accumulation of solid and liquid material in the air spaces that would have normally been filled by gas. It is also known as pulmonary consolidation. The most common cause of consolidation is pneumonia – inflammation of the lung – as cellular debris, blood cells and exudate collects in the alveoli (air sacs) of the lung.
Consolidation may be patchy in distribution and involve only certain lobules of the lung although it can be widespread and affect entire lobes of the lung. It may be complete or incomplete. Although the term ‘consolidation’ is often used loosely and associated with pneumonia, it can also occur for various other reasons. Accumulation of pus, edema and even collapse of the lung (atelectasis) may also result in consolidation. The collection of solids and fluid is not isolated to the air spaces and the surrounding lung parenchyma may also be edematous. This affects the lung’s capacity to expand and allow for gas exchange between the air spaces and blood vessels in the lung tissue.