What is Lung Consolidation?
Lung consolidation occurs when the air that usually fills the small airways in your lungs is replaced with something else. Depending on the cause, the air may be replaced with:
- A fluid, such as pus, blood, or water
- A solid, such as stomach contents or cells
The appearance of your lungs on a chest X-ray, and your symptoms, are similar for all these substances. So, you’ll typically need more tests to find out why your lungs are consolidated. With appropriate treatment, the consolidation usually goes away and air returns.
How common is Lung Consolidation?
Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of Lung Consolidation?
The common symptoms of Lung Consolidation are:
- Breathing difficulty which may increase depending on the severity of lung consolidation
- Wheezing and hard to catch a breath
- The chest feels heavy and tends to be in pain
- Tachypnea (a condition that can cause you to breathe very rapidly, sweat a lot, and have difficulty while talking)
- Abnormal breathing sounds
- Your face may appear paler than usual or even a little blue
- Heavy coughing with a large amount of mucous (the mucous may also contain blood)
- Night sweats
- Exhaustion and fatigue
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes Lung Consolidation?
The causes of lung consolidation include:
Pneumonia is the most common cause of lung consolidation. When you have an infection in your lung, your body sends white blood cells to fight it. Dead cells and debris build up creating pus, which fills the small airways. Pneumonia is usually due to bacteria or a virus, but it can also be caused by a fungus or other unusual organisms.
Congestive heart failure is the most common cause of pulmonary edema. When your heart can’t pump hard enough to move blood forward, it backs up into the blood vessels in your lungs. The increased pressure pushes fluid from your blood vessels into the small airways.
People who almost drown get pulmonary edema. In these cases, the fluid enters the airways from outside their body instead of the inside.
Pulmonary hemorrhage means you’re bleeding in your lungs. According to a review article in Tuberculosis & Respiratory Diseases, this is most often caused by vasculitis, or inflammation of your blood vessels. This makes your blood vessels weak and leaky, so some of your blood moves into the small airways.
Aspiration happens when you breathe food particles or your stomach contents into your lungs.
Aspiration of food can cause pneumonia, but the infections are usually harder to treat than in ordinary pneumonia.
If you can’t swallow correctly, you’re more likely to aspirate when you eat. If the swallowing issue isn’t fixed, you’ll continue to aspirate.
Stomach acid and other chemicals can cause inflammation and irritate or injure your lungs, which is called pneumonitis. You’re more likely to get this if you’re in the hospital with a decreased level of consciousness. Once your level of consciousness improves, you no longer have a high risk of aspiration.
Lung cancer is a common form of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer takes more lives each year than prostate, colon, and breast cancer put together. You’re much more likely to get lung cancer if you smoke.
What increases my risk for Lung Consolidation?
Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is Lung Consolidation diagnosed?
The doctor’s diagnosis will begin with a conversation about your recent medical history. This will most likely be followed by a physical exam. This exam will include the doctor listening to your lungs and may be followed up with x-rays to get the full extent of the consolidation. Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment options will be presented.
How is Lung Consolidation treated?
Pneumonia is treated with medication targeted to the organism that caused it. You’ll typically be put on antibiotics, antivirals, or antifungals. You may also be given medication to control your cough, chest pain, or fever.
Treatment of pulmonary edema is based on its cause. Treatment may include medication to remove the extra fluid, lower the pressure in your blood vessels, or make your heart pump better.
If you have vasculitis, you’ll usually be treated with steroids and immunosuppressants. You may need to take these medications regularly to prevent more bleeding.
If you get aspiration pneumonia, you’ll be treated with strong antibiotics. You’ll also be evaluated and treated for swallowing problems, so you don’t continue to aspirate.
Pneumonitis isn’t an infection, so antibiotics don’t work. If you’re very sick, you might be given steroids to reduce the inflammation, but usually you’re only given supportive care while your body heals itself.
Lung cancer is hard to treat. Removing the tumor with surgery may give you the best chance to be cured, but not all lung cancers can be removed. Once the cancer starts to spread, it can’t be cured, and treatment is given only to help your symptoms. Early detection is key.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Lung Consolidation?
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Lung Consolidation: The Causes and How to Treat It. https://www.doctorshealthpress.com/pain-articles/lung-consolidation-causes-treatments/. Accessed May 14, 2018.
Lung Consolidation: What It Is and How It’s Treated. https://www.healthline.com/health/lung-consolidation. Accessed May 14, 2018.
Review Date: May 22, 2018 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019