What are the pathognomonic findings on chest radiographs of viral pneumonia?

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
  • Author: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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None of the viral etiologies of pneumonia result in pathognomonic findings on chest radiographs, and bacterial pneumonia cannot be differentiated from viral pneumonia based on radiographic findings. Of concern was the fact that some patients with SARS had negative findings on chest radiographs but infiltrates were seen on chest CT. Chest radiography may reveal the following findings:

  • Patchy interstitial or alveolar infiltrate, which may be bilateral or involve 2 or more lobes

  • Peribronchial thickening

  • Consolidation

  • Pleural effusion

For more information, see Imaging in Viral Pneumonia.

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