Respiratory tract infections — when is medical imaging appropriate?
There is a limited role for medical imaging in the diagnosis of respiratory tract infection. In patients presenting with severe illness, chest X-ray is indicated to establish a diagnosis of pneumonia.
Consider if the potential benefit outweighs the risk — will the results of diagnostic radiology alter patient management?
Computed tomography (CT) may be considered when atypical, severe or chronic (lasting more than 12 weeks) sinusitis has failed to respond to medical treatment.[1,2]
Consider risk associated with radiation exposure — a CT scan of the head exposes a patient to about 2.3 millisieverts of ionising radiation, equivalent to about 115 chest X-rays.