Test Details & Preparation
A chest X-ray is a visualization test which uses X-rays to have a look at the structures and organs in your chest. The test can help your doctor see how well your lungs and heart are working. Some heart problems can cause changes in your lungs. Certain diseases can cause further changes in the structure of the heart or lungs.
Chest X-rays can visualize your doctor the size, shape and location of the following:
- Pulmonary Arteries
- Bones of your chest
Chest X-ray uses a small amount of radiation to make pictures of these areas.
Your doctor may want to have a chest X-ray if you are having symptoms like difficulty in breathing, coughing up blood, fever or chest injury.
X-rays are sometimes used to treat conditions, such as lung cancer, tuberculosis, pneumonia and heart failure as well as check whether you have fluid in your lungs.
A chest X-ray can also help your doctor to examine the effectiveness of specific treatments or check for postsurgical complications.
If you are pregnant or think you might be, be sure to tell your doctor. This is due to the small amount of radiation exposure during an X-ray there is some concern that the procedure may harm an unborn fetus.
You will have to wear a hospital robe during the X-ray. Views of the chest are taken from the front and from the side while you are standing up. If you are having difficulty in standing, the X-ray will be taken while you’re lying down.
The entire process will take about 15 minutes and the results will be communicated to your doctor, generally the same or next day. Your doctor will then goes over your results with you and discuss any next steps.
What happens during a chest x-ray?
Generally, a chest X-ray follows this process:
- For a standing or sitting image, you will stand or sit in front of the X-ray plate. You will be told to roll your shoulders forward, take in a deep breath, and hold it until the X-ray is made. If you are unable to hold your breath, the technologist will take the picture by watching how you breathe.
- You will need to stay still during the X-ray. Moving during the X-ray may affect the quality of the image.
- For a side-angle view of the chest, you will be asked to turn to your side and raise your arms above your head. You will be told to take in a deep breath and hold it as the X-ray is made.
- The technologist will step behind a special window while the images are being made.