The finding of a pulmonary infiltrate on chest radiograph may represent a spectrum of pathologic entities in the acutely ill hospitalized adult. Timely intervention depends on the advanced practice nurse’s ability to devise a differential diagnosis based on the characteristics of the infiltrate and the clinical setting. Pulmonary infiltrates are described as interstitial or alveolar, diffuse or focal. Their presentation may be chronic or acute in nature. Understanding the nuances of chest radiographic interpretation provides the foundation on which the infiltrate is described and is therefore the first step in establishing the differential diagnosis. Thorough clinical assessmant and thoughtful requisition of diagnostic studies are used to discriminate the disorders found in the differential diagnosis. Using an organized approach to describe the radiographic abnormality and define its clinical context, the advanced practice nurse can efficiently establish a diagnosis so that the work of treatment may begin

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