A chest X-ray is an imaging test that produces pictures of organs and structures in the chest. It is also known as the lung film among people. It is hot when heart or lung disease is suspected. It is widely used in emergency diagnosis and treatment because it is fast and easy.
To assess the lungs, heart, bones, chest wall, or injury from an accident; to diagnose in the presence of symptoms such as shortness of breath, chronic cough, fever, chest pain; it helps to diagnose and follow up diseases such as pneumonia, pleuritis, pneumothorax, emphysema, COPD, cancer, and cystic fibrosis. It is concluded on the same day in emergency cases and in 1-2 days at the latest in non-emergency cases.
What is a chest X-ray?
Why is a chest X-ray taken?
- Condition of the lungs: infections, air or fluid collection in the surrounding space that can cause the lung to collapse. It can indicate lung diseases and related complications such as pneumonia, emphysema, COPD, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis.
- Heart-related lung problems: Some problems in the lungs can be caused by heart problems; for example, fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) may be the result of congestive heart failure.
- Size of the heart: Abnormalities in the shape of the heart can indicate heart failure, fluid around the heart, birth defects, cardiomyopathy, or heart valve problems.
- Blood vessels: Because the outlines of the great vessels near the heart can be seen on X-rays, blood vessel problems such as aortic aneurysms can be detected.
- Calcium deposits: the presence of calcium in the heart or blood vessels can mean that fat and other substances in the arteries, heart valves, coronary arteries, heart muscle, and the protective sac surrounding the heart are damaged.
- Rib and rib cage injuries can indicate spinal fractures or other problems with the bones.
- Post-operative changes: It can be used to monitor recovery after surgeries involving the heart, lungs, or esophagus. After surgery, air leaks and other problems around the lungs are checked.
- A Chest X-ray can be performed to check the location of medical devices such as implanted pacemakers, defibrillators, or catheters.
Chest X-ray and smoking
However, along with heart and blood vessel problems, it increases the risk for asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), lung cancer , stroke, and more. Therefore, they should have chest X-rays more frequently than non-smokers. Thus, clogged arteries, heart diseases and cancer-related abnormalities are detected early and precautions are taken.
How is a chest X-ray taken?
The X-ray takes place in a special room with a movable X-ray camera attached to a large metal arm. The equipment used for chest X-ray consists of an X-ray generating tube and a wall-mounted, box-like plate that digitally records the image. The distance between the x-ray tube and the plate is approximately 100–150 cm.
Chest radiography methods and types
In chest X-ray, images of the chest area can be obtained in different ways depending on the direction of the X-ray or the condition of the patient. Usually, the patient is positioned standing, but patients who cannot stand can be positioned lying on a table. There is also a portable x-ray device that can be taken to patients in their hospital beds or in the emergency room. The most commonly used methods are:
- Posteroanterior (PA) Chest X-ray: In this most commonly used method, the standing patient leans his chest up against the metal plate of the X-ray machine. The arms are held at the sides with the hands on the hips. The shoulders are pressed against the plate by pushing the elbows forward. The chin is placed on the upper line of the plate. The patient is asked to hold their breath. This position, in which the X-ray is given from back to front, creates an image of the front of the chest.
- Lateral (lateral) chest X-ray: The standing patient leans sideways against the metal plate of the x-ray machine and raises his arms. The patient is again asked to take a deep breath and hold it until the shooting is over. This position creates an image of the side of the chest. The X-ray is given from the right when pulling the left side, and from the left when pulling the right side.
- Anteroposterior (AP) Chest X-ray: The patient lies in the supine position with the rib cage facing the x-ray plate. In this method, in which large images of organs and structures in the chest area are obtained, the X-ray is given from front to back. With this method, where the patient lies on the table with the x-ray plate, the areas of fluid collection in the lungs can be determined.
What should be considered when taking a chest X-ray?
What should be done before a chest X-ray is taken?
- It doesn’t matter if you are hungry or full before the procedure.
- You will usually be asked to remove clothing above the waist and wear a hospital gown.
- You must remove jewelry, glasses, piercings, or other metals from the waist up.
- If you have an implanted device such as a heart valve or pacemaker, you should inform your doctor.
- Women should inform their doctor and X-ray technician if they are likely to be pregnant.
Chest X-ray results and report
Images from the chest X-ray are processed on large sheets of film in a laboratory. The radiologist analyzes the images, interprets them and prepares a results report for your doctor.