A chest x-ray is an x-ray of the chest, lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs, and diaphragm.
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 need to stand against the machine, and then sideways.
Tell the health care provider if you are pregnant. Chest x-rays are generally not done during the first 6 months of pregnancy.
There is no discomfort. The film plate may feel cold.
Your doctor may order a chest x-ray if you have any of the following symptoms:
A serial chest x-ray is one that is repeated. It may be done to look at or monitor changes found on a previous chest x-ray.
Abnormal results may be due to many things, including:
In the lungs:
In the heart:
In the bones:
Abnormal results may also be due to:
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 risk is very low compared with the benefits. Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of x-rays.
Chest radiography; Serial chest x-ray; X-ray - chest
Gotway MB, Elicker BM. Radiographic techniques. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus CV, Martin TR, et al. Murray & Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 19.
Stark P. Imaging in pulmonary disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 84.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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