Infiltrates is a term commonly used to describe findings on chest x-ray, but what does it mean?
Simply put it is defined as: “The accumulation of foreign and/or abnormal substances (i.e pus, blood, fluid) within body tissues or cells“. In the context of a chest x-ray, this typically refers to accumulation within the alveoli or interstitium.
It will be differentiated into “alveolar infiltrates” (think airspace disease) or “interstitial infiltrates” (think congestive heart failure); though there are many other causes.
|Interstitial Infiltrates||Alveolar Infiltrates|
|Pulmonary edema (most common, e.g. Left Congestive Heart Failure) Mitral Stenosis Lymphangitic carcinoma Lymphoma Mycoplasma pneumonia or Viral Pneumonia Sarcoidosis Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Hemosiderosis (late findings)||Typically signs of airspace disease within the parenchyma Segmental distribution of Pulmonary Infiltrate Coalescence of infiltrates Fluffy margins Air Bronchograms Rosette Patterns Silhouetting of normal structures|
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