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Chest X Rays

A chest x-ray creates an image of your heart, lungs, and bones (ribs and spine). Different structures allow different amounts of xrays to pass through them. For really thick thing like bones, not much pass through so so they look white on an xray. Your lungs allow more xrays to pass through so they look much darker on the xray.  

Doctors look at the colors and shading on the xray to help diagnose and treat conditions.  

  • A normal chest xray shows clear lungs, a normal size heart, and a clearly outlined chest cavity.   
  • An abnormal chest xray can show fluid build up in the lungs, heart enlargement, infection, cysts (pockets of extra air), masses, and other problems. 

If you get abnormal results, your doctor may recommend additional tests (like CT scans) for more information. 

A chest xray usually involves getting 2 images- one taken from the front and one taken from the side. Your doctor will decide how many they take.  

X-rays are taken by a special healthcare provider called a radiology technologist. The patient will be asked to lay down or stand next to a box that has the xray in it and then they will turn on a light to make sure the picture is lined up correctly. Once they are in the correct position, they will be asked to hold still and take a deep breath while the technologist steps out and takes the xray.  

It is important to hold really still during the xray. If your child is an infant or a toddler, they may be placed in a clear plexiglass positioner that will hold them still and in the correct position for the xray.  

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