Influenza chest x ray

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For more information about non-human (variant) influenza viruses that may be transmitted to humans, see Zoonotic influenza

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Alejandro Lemor, M.D. [2]


Chest X-ray is not routinely done in patients with influenza. A chest X-ray is useful to assess complications of influenza infection, such as a superimposed bacterial pneumonia.

Chest X-ray

  • A chest x-ray may be useful in certain patients to exclude complications or superimposed infections, such as pneumonia.
  • Chest x-ray findings will be normal among most of patients, so there is no need to perform this image study in all patients.
  • Findings in patients that require a chest X-ray include:[1][2][3]
  • Ground-glass opacity (most common finding)
  • Consolidation (may suggest a superimposed bacterial infection)
  • Bilateral diffuse infiltrates
  • Pleural effusion
  • Air bronchograms
  • Interlobular septal thickening
  • Centrilobular nodules
  • Cystic changes


  1. Gao, Hai-Nv; Lu, Hong-Zhou; Cao, Bin; Du, Bin; Shang, Hong; Gan, Jian-He; Lu, Shui-Hua; Yang, Yi-Da; Fang, Qiang; Shen, Yin-Zhong; Xi, Xiu-Ming; Gu, Qin; Zhou, Xian-Mei; Qu, Hong-Ping; Yan, Zheng; Li, Fang-Ming; Zhao, Wei; Gao, Zhan-Cheng; Wang, Guang-Fa; Ruan, Ling-Xiang; Wang, Wei-Hong; Ye, Jun; Cao, Hui-Fang; Li, Xing-Wang; Zhang, Wen-Hong; Fang, Xu-Chen; He, Jian; Liang, Wei-Feng; Xie, Juan; Zeng, Mei; Wu, Xian-Zheng; Li, Jun; Xia, Qi; Jin, Zhao-Chen; Chen, Qi; Tang, Chao; Zhang, Zhi-Yong; Hou, Bao-Min; Feng, Zhi-Xian; Sheng, Ji-Fang; Zhong, Nan-Shan; Li, Lan-Juan (2013). "Clinical Findings in 111 Cases of Influenza A (H7N9) Virus Infection". New England Journal of Medicine. 368 (24): 2277–2285. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1305584. ISSN 0028-4793.
  2. Wang, Qingle; Zhang, Zhiyong; Shi, Yuxin; Jiang, Yebin (2013). "Emerging H7N9 Influenza A (Novel Reassortant Avian-Origin) Pneumonia: Radiologic Findings". Radiology. 268 (3): 882–889. doi:10.1148/radiol.13130988. ISSN 0033-8419.
  3. Lin ZQ, Xu XQ, Zhang KB, Zhuang ZG, Liu XS, Zhao LQ; et al. (2014). "Chest X-ray and CT findings of early H7N9 avian influenza cases". Acta Radiol. doi:10.1177/0284185114535209. PMID 24917607.

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