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X-Ray Chest

An X-Ray of the Chest is the most commonly performed diagnostic x-ray examination. A chest x-ray makes images of the heart, lungs, airways, blood vessels and the bones of the spine and chest. An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body.

Your doctor may recommend a chest x-ray to evaluate the lungs, heart and chest wall. A chest x-ray is typically the first imaging test used to help diagnose symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • A bad or persistent cough
  • Chest pain
  • Injury
  • Fever

Physicians may use the examination to help diagnose or monitor treatment for conditions such as:

  • Pneumonia
  • Heart failure and other heart problems
  • Emphysema, lung cancer or other medical conditions.

Typically, two views of the chest are taken, one from the back and the other from the side of the body as the patient stands against the image recording plate. The technologist, an individual specially trained to perform radiology examinations, will position the patient with hands on hips and chest pressed the image plate. For the second view, the patient's side is against the image plate with arms elevated. Patients who cannot stand may be positioned lying down on a table for chest x-rays. When the examination is complete, you will be asked to wait until the radiologist determines that all the necessary images have been obtained. The chest x-ray examination is usually completed within 15 minutes. Additional views may be required within hours, days or months to evaluate any changes in the chest.

For Physicians

Low dose radiation produces internal images.

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