What is the role of chest radiography in the workup of bacterial pneumonia?

Updated: Sep 30, 2020
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Chest radiography is considered the standard method for diagnosing the presence of pneumonia, that is, the presence of an infiltrate is required for the diagnosis. However, it must be noted that the accuracy of plain chest radiography for detecting pneumonia decreases depending on the setting of infection (see Background).

In addition, pleural effusions can be identified by chest radiographs. The presence of a parapneumonic pleural fluid can have important therapeutic implications. In H influenzae pneumonia, pleural effusion is present in approximately half of infected individuals.

Go to Imaging Typical Bacterial Pneumonia and Imaging Atypical Bacterial Pneumonia for complete information on these topics.

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