Chest x-ray

Chest X-Ray

A chest x-ray is an imaging test used to look at the structure and function of the heart, lungs, and other organs in the chest. It’s an essential medical tool used to diagnose and monitor serious medical conditions such as pneumonia, heart failure, lung cancer, and other heart and lung disorders.

Preparation for a Chest X-Ray

Before having a chest x-ray, it’s important to follow the instructions given by your doctor or healthcare provider. This may include removing any clothing or jewelry that may interfere with the x-ray, and avoiding eating or drinking anything for a few hours prior to the test.


During the procedure, you will be positioned in front of an x-ray machine equipped with a plate. After the plate is placed under you, the machine will be adjusted to capture the image of your chest. The entire procedure usually takes up to 10 minutes.

Types of Chest X-Rays

There are three main types of chest x-rays:

  • Fluoroscopy: This type of x-ray is used to take images of the chest in both two and three dimensions. It can produce detailed views of the lungs, heart, and other organs within the chest.
  • Thoracic: This type of x-ray involves taking an image of the chest from different angles. It’s used to detect abnormalities in the chest, such as tumors.
  • Ventilation/Perfusion (V/Q): This type is used to detect blood clots or other blockages in the lungs. It involves inhaling a contrast material to make the blood vessels more visible on the x-ray.

Risks and Side Effects

Chest x-rays are considered to be very safe. There is a small risk of radiation exposure, but it is much lower than the amount needed to cause tissue damage. In addition, there is no risk of radiation exposure for the technician performing the procedure.

Why, When, and Who Should Have a Chest X-Ray?

Chest x-rays are typically ordered when a doctor suspects that the patient has a condition related to the heart, lungs, or other organs in the chest, such as a tumor, infection, or inflammation. It can also be used to monitor the progress of a particular condition. Chest x-rays are typically recommended for anyone with chest pain, a cough, or shortness of breath.