X-ray: Chest

X-ray: Chest

X-ray: Chest

Alternative Names: Chest X-ray, CXR

A chest X-ray (CXR) is done to examine the chest (including the ribs, lungs, heart, and other structures) and investigate symptoms such as coughing, breathlessness, and chest pain. The causes of these symptoms could be pneumonia, bronchitis, tuberculosis (TB), emphysema, lung cancer, or heart failure. An X-ray creates images by using radiation, which passes through the body. On the image, air is black, dense structures (e.g. bone) are white, and there are greys in between. You would normally stand still in front of the X-ray machine while the images are taken.

What is it?
An X-ray uses radiation, passed through the body, to create images. The different body structures appear as black, white, and shades of grey. Air is black, very dense structures (like bone) are white, with a range of greys in between.

An X-ray is performed in a radiology facility although some machines are mobile and can be used in hospital wards and operating theatres. An X-ray usually takes less than an hour to perform.

Why is it done?
A chest X-ray is done to examine the chest: the ribs, lungs, heart, and other structures.

It is often done to investigate symptoms such as:

  • Cough
  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain

It is often done when considering diagnoses such as:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Emphysema
  • Lung cancer
  • Heart failure

What happens?

Before – how to prepare
No special preparation is needed although all jewellery and other metal objects should be removed.

During – how the test is done
You stand in front of the X-ray machine and will be asked to take a deep breath. You hold your breath and stand very still for a few seconds while the X-ray is taken. There is no discomfort at all.

After the test
The results will be available a short time after the X-ray has been taken – usually an hour or so, depending on how quickly the radiologist is able to look at, and interpret, the images.

Risks and Compilations
There is a small risk associated with the radiation involved but most experts do not consider this to be a significant problem.

Short Description
A chest X-ray (CXR) is done to examine the chest (including the ribs, lungs, heart, and other structures) and investigate symptoms such as coughing, breathlessness, and chest pain.

Keywords
chest X-ray, CXR, chest x-ray



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