What is a Chest X-ray?
It is a most commonly performed diagnostic x-ray examination. The chest x-ray is usually done to evaluate the lungs, heart and chest wall. Pneumonia, heart failure, lung cancer and other medical conditions can be diagnosed or suspected on a chest x-ray.
It is also performed prior to employment, surgery or immigration.
The console of the x-ray unit
How safe is a Chest X-ray?
The amount of radiation used for this procedure is one of the lowest. It is about the same amount you would get from background radiation in one week.
Why should I have a Chest X-ray?
It is for the detection of problems related to the lungs, heart and the chest wall. For example a bad or persistent cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, chest injury or blood in the sputum are the common indications for Chest X-ray.
How should I prepare for the Chest X-ray?
There is no special preparation. Women should always inform their doctor or radiographer if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
How is the Chest X-ray done?
You will need to remove all metallic jewellery that may interfere with the x-ray examination. Normally a frontal view is obtained. You will need to stand with the chest pressed to the plate, hands on hips, elbow pushed in front. The radiographer will instruct you to be still and to take a deep breath and hold it. It is important to hold your breath in order to get a clear image of your lung. The radiographer then walks outside to activate the radiographic equipment, which sends a beam of x-rays from the x-ray source behind you to the recording plate. The radiographer may need to take additional views to see all parts of the chest.
A radiologist will analyze the chest x-ray images and send a signed report to your doctor, who will inform you the test results. Our PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) also allows confidential distribution of diagnostic reports and digital images over the internet.
A subject undergoing a chest x-ray
What happens after the Chest X-ray?
There is actually nothing much to anticipate after the x-ray examination. You may return to your normal routine and diet.
Are there any possible complications?
There is no known side effects or complications.
How reliable is a Chest X-ray?
A normal chest x-ray does not necessarily rule out all problems in the chest. There are some cancers that are too small or difficult to visualize and may not be identified. A chest CT scan may then be requested to further clarify a finding, seen on the chest x-ray. The chest x-ray and physical examination should be correlated. The information each procedure provides, should give your doctor a clearer understanding or assessment of your health.
Disclaimer: This is only general information. A doctor should be contacted if you need any medical advice or if medical decisions need to be made.