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Aortic rupture, chest X-ray
Aortic rupture, chest X-ray


Lung cancer, frontal chest X-ray
Lung cancer, frontal chest X-ray


Adenocarcinoma - chest X-ray
Adenocarcinoma - chest X-ray


Coal worker's lungs - chest X-ray
Coal worker's lungs - chest X-ray


Coccidioidomycosis - chest X-ray
Coccidioidomycosis - chest X-ray


Coal workers pneumoconiosis - stage II
Coal workers pneumoconiosis - stage II


Coal workers pneumoconiosis - stage II #2
Coal workers pneumoconiosis - stage II #2


Coal workers pneumoconiosis, complicated
Coal workers pneumoconiosis, complicated


Coal workers pneumoconiosis, complicated #2
Coal workers pneumoconiosis, complicated #2


Tuberculosis, advanced - chest X-rays
Tuberculosis, advanced - chest X-rays


Pulmonary nodule - front view chest X-ray
Pulmonary nodule - front view chest X-ray


Sarcoid, stage II - chest X-ray
Sarcoid, stage II - chest X-ray


Sarcoid, stage IV - chest X-ray
Sarcoid, stage IV - chest X-ray


Pulmonary mass - side view chest X-ray
Pulmonary mass - side view chest X-ray


Bronchial cancer - chest X-ray
Bronchial cancer - chest X-ray


Lung nodule, right middle lobe - chest X-ray
Lung nodule, right middle lobe - chest X-ray


Lung mass, right upper lung - chest X-ray
Lung mass, right upper lung - chest X-ray


Lung nodule - front view chest X-ray
Lung nodule - front view chest X-ray


Chest x-ray

Definition:

A chest x-ray is an x-ray of the chest, lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs, and diaphragm.



Alternative Names:

Chest radiography; Serial chest x-ray; X-ray - chest



How the Test is Performed:

You stand in front of the x-ray machine. You will be told to hold your breath when the x-ray is taken.

Two images are usually taken. You will first need to stand facing the machine, and then sideways.



How to Prepare for the Test:

Tell the health care provider if you are pregnant. Chest x-rays are generally not done during the first 6 months of pregnancy.



How the Test will Feel:

There is no discomfort. The film plate may feel cold.



Why the Test is Performed:

Your doctor may order a chest x-ray if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • A persistent cough
  • Chest pain from a chest injury (with a possible rib fracture or lung complication) or from heart problems
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever

It may also be done if you have signs of tuberculosis , lung cancer , or other chest or lung diseases .

A serial chest x-ray is one that is repeated. It may be done to monitor changes found on a past chest x-ray.



What Abnormal Results Mean:

Abnormal results may be due to many things, including:

In the lungs:

In the heart:

  • Problems with the size or shape of the heart
  • Problems with the position and shape of the large arteries

In the bones:



Risks:

There is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts feel that the benefits outweigh the risks. Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of x-rays.



References:

Gotway MB, Elicker BM. Radiographic techniques. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus CV, Martin TR, et al., eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 19.

Stark P. Imaging in pulmonary disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 84.




Review Date: 8/30/2014
Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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