What is the role of chest radiography in the evaluation of suspected community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)?

Updated: Oct 31, 2019
  • Author: Stephanie L Baer, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Obtain chest radiographs in all patients with suspected CAP to evaluate for an infiltrate and to help exclude conditions that may mimic CAP (ie, lung cancer, pulmonary emboli). [8, 9] Patients who present very early with CAP may have negative findings on chest radiography. In these patients, repeat chest radiography within 24 hours may be beneficial. CT scanning may also be necessary in immunocompromised patients who present with symptoms that suggest CAP or ambiguous symptoms in whom chest radiography findings are negative. Serial chest radiography may be used to observe the progression of CAP; however, radiographic improvement often lags behind clinical improvement.


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