Air space opacification

Dr Craig Hacking and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Air space opacification is a descriptive term that refers to filling of the pulmonary tree with material that attenuates x-rays more than the surrounding lung parenchyma. It is one of the many patterns of lung opacification and is equivalent to the pathological diagnosis of pulmonary consolidation.

In radiological studies, it presents as increased attenuation of the lung parenchyma causing obscuration of pulmonary vessels, without significant loss of volume, in the segment(s) affected. Air bronchograms can also be found 1, 2.

Pathology

Causes

The opacification is caused by fluid or solid material within the airways that causes a difference in the relative attenuation of the lung:

When considering the likely causes of airspace opacification, it is useful to determine chronicity (by reviewing previous radiographs) and considering laterality.

Additionally, the presence of mediastinal or hilar lymphadenopathy further refines the massive list of differentials:

Patterns of disease

On chest radiography a number of patterns are recognized:

Share article

Article information

rID: 9226
System: Chest
Section: Gamuts
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Lung consolidation
  • Airspace shadowing
  • Air-space opacification
  • Pulmonary consolidation
  • Airspace opacification
  • Air-space consolidation
  • Air space consolidation

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1: left lower lobe consolidation
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2: right upper lobe consolidation
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 3: lingula consolidation
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 4: right lower lobe consolidation
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Left basal consol...
    Case 5: left basal consolidation
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 6
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 7
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 8: on ultrasound
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.