Respirology/ ICU

What are Pulmonary Infiltrates?

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 InfiltratesAlveolar 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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Dr. C Humphreys

Internal Medicine

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