To assess the role of chest radiography in the differential diagnosis of bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP) and usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP), records of 34 patients with biopsy-proved BOOP (16 patients) or UIP (18 patients) were reviewed. Chest radiographs taken before biopsy were available in 26 patients, clinical information in 33, and pulmonary function data in 22. These data were reviewed independently, without knowledge of the pathologic diagnosis. The clinical symptoms of BOOP were similar to those of UIP, although the duration of symptoms was longer in UIP (P less than .05), and the prevalence of systemic symptoms was higher in BOOP (P less than .025). The physical findings were similar except that finger clubbing was more common in patients with UIP than in those with BOOP (P less than .01). There was no significant difference in lung volumes, flows, or diffusing capacity between BOOP and UIP. The chest radiograph showed distinguishing features between UIP and BOOP in 23 of 26 patients. The most characteristic radiologic finding in BOOP was the presence of patchy areas of air-space consolidation (eight of 11 patients).