CHEST X-RAYS DEFINITIONChest x-rays generate images of your spine's bones, ribs, blood vessels, lungs, and heart. Chest x-rays are particularly helpful in determining if you're suffering from broken ribs, pneumonia, a collapsed lung, or heart failure. It can also show if you have fluid in your lungs or the spaces around the organ, among many other conditions.
CHEST X-RAYS PURPOSEA doctor can use a chest x-ray in order to determine the condition of your lungs, heart-related lung problems, the size and outline of your heart, blood vessels, calcium deposits, postoperative changes, and medical implants such as a catheter, defibrillator, or pacemaker. It's a standard method of checking for cardiovascular or respiratory diseases.
CHEST X-RAYS RISKSThe primary risk you face when undergoing chest x-rays is exposure to radiation, especially if you have these x-rays on a regular basis. Keep in mind though that the radiation levels of x-rays are quite negligible... even lower than natural radiation sources.
CHEST X-RAYS PREPARATION REQUIRED
Before undergoing a chest x-ray, you need to undress from the waist up and wear an exam gown in order streamline the entire procedure. You should also remove jewelry or any metallic object on your person, because those and clothing tend to obscure the x-ray imagery.
Image: CHEST X-RAYS
Image: CHEST X-RAYS
CHEST X-RAYS PROCEDUREYour body will be positioned between the x-ray camera and x-ray digital recorder. You'll be asked by the operator to move around in order to get as many images and angles as possible of your chest, specifically its sides and front.
CHEST X-RAYS COMPLICATIONSPregnant women should always inform the technologist of their condition, because it's not recommended for them to have x-rays during pregnancy. If they really need it, they'll probably need to be equipped with a lead apron to avoid any fetal complications from the procedure.
CHEST X-RAYS SIDE EFFECTSThere are no immediate side effects from getting chest x-rays; in fact, it's a generally painless procedure. You won't feel any pain or sensation as the x-ray passes through your body. If you cannot stand, you can take the chest x-ray lying down or seated without any ill effects.
CHEST X-RAYS RESULTSA radiologist will be the one tasked to analyze the x-ray images, looking for hints for conditions like heart failure or lung fluid. X-rays tend to penetrate body structures and tissues in a multitude of ways. Bone is dense, so it will appear white on film, while your lungs will produce a dark image because it's mostly filled with air.