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.

  • Highly portable and inexpensive imaging modality.
  • Relatively fast imaging modality.
  • Exposes the patient to minimal ionizing radiation.
  • Sensitive in diagnosing pneumonia.
  • 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.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.