Preliminary Diagnosis: Bronchiolitis

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

  • Chest radiographs: PA and lateral views

II. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this technique for diagnosis of bronchiolitis.


  • Relatively inexpensive, fast imaging modality

  • Highly portable

  • Exposes the patient to negligible radiation


  • Highly sensitive but less specific in detailing any underlying parenchymal or pulmonary abnormalities compared with CT

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

No speciific contraindications to plain radiography exist.

IV. What alternative imaging techniques are available?

  • CT scan of the chest without contrast

  • Noncontrast high-resolution CT scan of the chest may additionally be performed.

V. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative techniques for diagnosis of bronchiolitis.

CT scan of the chest without contrast


  • Highly specific and sensitive in detailing any pleural or parenchymal architectural abnormalities

  • Highly adept in evaluatiing for any underlying pulmonary abnormalities or secondary complications not exquisitely detailed on companion plain radiography

  • CT exposes the patients to ionizing radiation

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

CT scan of the chest without contrast

May be contraindicated in pregnant patients

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