Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Misdiagnosed Pneumonia?
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Misdiagnosed Pneumonia?

I went to the doctor suspecting Bronchitis this past weekend. I had had a very bad productive cough for days (yellow greenish mucus), I also had a high fever that would not go away. When they examined me they heard crackling sounds on my right upper back.. They also did a chest X-ray. When they came back with the X-ray results, they said no pneumonia, but I had scattered areas of atelectasis/fibrosis on my right upper and lower lobes in the lungs...

This fibrosis part really had me worried now, Im already wanting to do a CT scan and other test just to make sure its not pulmonary fibrosis or something serious like that. They prescribed Azithromycin for the acute bronchitis. As soon as I started the antibiotics Im feeling a whole lot better, not as mucusy and no fever. At no point did I have difficulty breathing.. What should be my next step? Just a regular chest Xray again, or should I just ask for a CT scan right away.. Im starting to wonder if they could have misread my first Xrays??? Instead of atelectasis/fibrosis in the lungs could I have had pneumonia, wouldn't that fit the picture a little better?? Im a 29 year old otherwise healthy, non-smoking woman.
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The crucial bit of information you provide is “As soon as I started the antibiotics I’m feeling a whole lot better, not as much mucus and no fever. “  Chest X-ray abnormalities do not always lend themselves to a specific diagnosis.  By that, I mean that, yes, the changes described could have been a reflection of pneumonia; not necessarily a misreading but rather, an atypical appearance of pneumonia.  While it may seem counterintuitive, the word “fibrosis” that occurs in the interpretation, is not the kind of appearance of what is called interstitial pulmonary fibrosis.

I suspect that you can safely await full clinical recovery and then your doctor can order another plain chest X-ray.  Then, depending on the X-ray findings, your doctor could decide if a CT Scan is indicated.  I suspect that a CT Scan will not be necessary, and there is definitely no hurry to do it, but you would be well advised to rely upon your doctor’s recommendation.

Good luck
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