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Investigations to consider include:

  • chest radiology - if there is tachypnoea and crepitation
  • full blood count
  • C-reactive protein
  • blood cultures
  • urea and electrolytes
  • cough swab or sputum
  • blood gases may be indicated in the very sick patient

Findings such as a neutrophilia or a raised C-reactive protein level may be suggestive, but are not diagnostic of a bacterial infection.

"GPs will often have to make a diagnosis based on clinical features alone since other diagnostic tools such as chest Xray or sputum and blood culture may not be immediately available (1)." Ref: Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin (1997), 35 (12), 89-92.

Last reviewed 01/2018