Imaging

Pneumonia

Preliminary Diagnosis: Pneumonia

I. What imaging technique is first-line for this diagnosis?

Chest x-ray, PA, and lateral.

II. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this technique for diagnosing pneumonia.

Advantages

  • Highly portable and inexpensive imaging modality.

  • Relatively fast imaging modality.

  • Exposes the patient to minimal ionizing radiation.

  • Sensitive in diagnosing pneumonia.

Disadvantages

  • Less adept in diagnosing or detailing an underlying primary parenchymal or pleural process or any secondary complication than other imaging modalities.

  • Less specific than other imaging modalities.

III. What are the contraindications for the first-line imaging technique?

No specific contraindications to plain radiography exist.

IV. What alternative imaging techniques are available?

CT imaging of the chest with intravenous contrast.

V. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative techniques for diagnosing pneumonia.

Advantages

  • This is the gold standard for diagnosing pneumonia and any underlying primary processes, i.e., neoplasm or foreign body, and any secondary complications.

  • More sensitive and specific in diagnosing a pneumonic process than plain radiography.

Disadvantages

  • Exposes the patient to ionizing radiation.

  • Less portable than plain radiography.

VI. What are the contraindications for the alternative imaging techniques?

  • May be contraindicated in pregnant patients.

  • Relative contraindication in patients with renal failure and those with contrast allergy.

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