What Is Consolidation in the Lungs?

Written by rene f. najera | 13/05/2017
What Is Consolidation in the Lungs?
Chest X-rays are valuable tools for the diagnosis of diseases like lung consolidation. (thorax x-ray of the lungs image by JoLin from Fotolia.com)

The lungs are two saclike organs in the chest that allow the exchange of gases between the atmosphere and the blood. Lung consolidation occurs when the lungs are infected and become filled with fluid. Pneumonia is the main cause of consolidation.

The Lungs

In humans, the lungs are located in the thoracic cavity (the chest). They are saclike organs whose thin, membranous tissues aid in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the air breathed in and the blood. Like other organs, the lungs are susceptible to infection from viruses, bacteria and fungi, a condition commonly referred to as pneumonia.


Pneumonia, the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, occurs when the lungs are infected by microbes or otherwise damaged. As the body reacts to the infection or inflammation, the lung tissue secretes a fluid. This fluid is made up of water, protein, white blood cells and microbial debris. Coughing and spasms aid in getting rid of the fluid. However, there are times when the fluid builds up faster than it can be eliminated, causing lung tissue damage.


Consolidation in the lungs occurs when the fluid accumulated causes the lung tissue to become stiff and unable to exchange gases. The symptoms of this include chest pain, cough and fever. A health care provider may use a physical examination to check for consolidation. However, chest x-ray technology makes diagnosing consolidation a more accurate science.

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