What is X-RAY CHEST LAT VIEW?
Chest x-ray uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the chest. It is used to evaluate the lungs, heart, and chest wall and may be used to help diagnose shortness of breath, persistent cough, fever, chest pain, or injury. It also may be used to help diagnose and monitor treatment for a variety of lung conditions such as pneumonia, emphysema, and cancer. Because chest x-ray is fast and easy, it is particularly useful in emergency diagnosis and treatment.
This exam requires little to no special preparation. Tell your doctor and the technologist if there is a possibility you are pregnant. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown.
What is a Chest X-ray (Chest Radiography)?
The chest x-ray is the most commonly performed diagnostic x-ray examination. A chest x-ray produces images of the heart, lungs, airways, blood vessels, and the bones of the spine and chest.
An x-ray exam helps doctors diagnose and treat medical conditions. It exposes you to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most often used form of medical imaging.
What are some common uses of the procedure?
The chest x-ray is performed to evaluate the lungs, heart, and chest wall.
A chest x-ray is typically the first imaging test used to help diagnose symptoms such as:
- breathing difficulties
- a bad or persistent cough
- chest pain or injury
Physicians use the examination to help diagnose or monitor treatment for conditions such as:
- heart failure and other heart problems
- lung cancer
- positioning of medical devices
- fluid or air collection around the lungs
- other medical conditions
How should I prepare?
A chest x-ray requires no special preparation.
You may need to remove some clothing and/or change into a gown for the exam. Remove jewelry, removable dental appliances, eyeglasses, and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
Women should always tell their doctor and technologist if they are pregnant. Doctors will not perform many tests during pregnancy to avoid exposing the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, the doctor will take precautions to minimize radiation exposure to the baby. See the Safety in X-ray, Interventional Radiology, and Nuclear Medicine Procedures page for more information about pregnancy and x-rays.
How is the procedure performed?
Typically, two views of the chest are taken, one from the back and the other from the side of the body as the patient stands against the image recording plate. The technologist, an individual specially trained to perform radiology examinations, will position the patient with hands-on-hips and chest pressed against the image plate. For the second view, the patient's side is against the image plate with arms elevated.
Patients who cannot stand may be positioned lying down on a table for chest x-rays.
You must hold very still and may need to hold your breath for a few seconds while the technologist takes the x-ray. This helps reduce the possibility of a blurred image. The technologist will walk behind a wall or into the next room to activate the x-ray machine.
When the examination is complete, the technologist may ask you to wait until the radiologist confirms they have all the necessary images.
The entire chest x-ray examination, from positioning to obtaining and verifying the images, is usually completed within 15 minutes.
Additional views may be required within hours, days or months to evaluate any changes in the chest.
What are the benefits vs. risks?
- No radiation stays in your body after an x-ray exam.
- X-rays usually have no side effects in the typical diagnostic range for this exam.
- X-ray equipment is relatively inexpensive and widely available in emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, ambulatory care centers, nursing homes, and other locations. This makes it convenient for both patients and doctors.
- Because x-ray imaging is fast and easy, it is particularly useful in emergency diagnosis and treatment.
- There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, given the small amount of radiation used in medical imaging, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the associated risk.
- The radiation dose for this procedure varies. See the Radiation Dose in X-Ray and CT Exams page for more information about radiation dose.
- Women should always tell their doctor and x-ray technologist if they are pregnant. See the Safety in X-ray, Interventional Radiology, and Nuclear Medicine Procedures page for more information about pregnancy and x-rays.