Chest X Ray
What Does a Chest X Ray Show?
Chest xrays show the structures in and around the chest. The test is used to look for and track conditions of the heart, lungs, bones, and chest cavity. For example, chest x-ray pictures may show signs of pneumonia, heart failure, lung cancer, lung tissue scarring, or sarcoidosis.
Chest x rays do have limits. They only show conditions that change the size of a tissue or how radiation is absorbed. Also, chest x rays create two-dimensional pictures. This means that denser structures, like bone or the heart, may hide some signs of disease. Very small cancers and blood clots in the lungs usually don't show up on chest x rays.
For these reasons, other tests may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.
Who Needs a Chest X Ray?
People who have symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, chronic cough, or fever may need chest x rays. The test can help find the cause of these symptoms.
Chest xrays look for conditions such as pneumonia, heart failure, lung cancer, lung tissue scarring, or sarcoidosis. The test also is used to check how well treatments for health problems are working.
People who test positive for tuberculosis exposure on skin tests, but have no symptoms, also may need chest x rays.
Sometimes, doctors order more chest x rays within hours, days, or months of an earlier chest x ray. This allows them to follow up on a condition.
People who are having certain types of surgery also may need chest x rays. Doctors often use this test before surgery to look at the structures inside the chest.
Xrays are electromagnetic waves. They use ionizing radiation to create pictures of the inside of your body. A chest X Ray can also be referred to as a chest radiograph.
A chest x ray takes pictures of the inside of your chest. The different tissues in your chest absorb different amounts of radiation. Your ribs and spine are bony and absorb radiation well. They normally appear light on a chest x ray. Your lungs, which are filled with air, normally appear dark. A disease in the chest that changes how radiation is absorbed also will appear on a chest x ray.
Chest x rays help doctors diagnose conditions such as pneumonia, heart failure, lung cancer, lung tissue scarring, and sarcoidosis. Doctors also may use chest x rays to see how well treatments for health problems are working. Also, doctors often use chest x rays before surgery to look at the structures in the chest.
Chest x ray is the most common x-ray test used to diagnose health problems.