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Chest X-Rays

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Chest X-Rays

A chest x-ray outlines the heart, lungs, and ribs. It can be ordered when a patientís symptoms include chest pain and/or shortness of breath. Chest X-rays image your heart and surrounding chest anatomy, show your heart size and shape, and reveal whether your heart is misshaped or enlarged due to disease. Hardened blockages due to cholesterol buildup in the main blood vessels, aortic aneurysms and fluid in the lungs may also be seen. Chest X-rays can also be used to image pacemakers and artificial heart valves to check for correct positioning.  It is the most common x-ray performed. Radiation exposure is minimal. As with any x-ray, please be sure to tell your physician if you think you might be pregnant.

*Test Preparation
Do not eat any solid foods for 4 hours prior to exam. Drink a minimum of 1 quart of water before arriving for the exam.

*The Test
The patient will be asked to wear a hospital gown and remove all jewelry. They will then stand with their chest pressed against a photographic plate. The technologist taking the x-rays will ask the patient to be still and hold their breath. This helps produce a clear, better quality image. The technologist will go into another room to activate the equipment. A beam of x-rays will come from behind the patient, through the patientís chest and onto the film plate. The technologist will remove the film and put new one in. The same test will be used with the patient standing sideways. There is no discomfort but the film plate may feel cold.

The films will be viewed by a Radiologist, a physician specializing in x-ray, who interprets the results.