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Radiology/Imaging

Chest X-ray 

What is a chest x-ray?

The chest x-ray is the most commonly performed diagnostic x-ray examination. A chest x-ray captures images of the heart, lungs, airways, blood vessels and the bones of the spine and chest. Beverly Hospital's Radiology departments utilize advanced digital technology to produce high quality images with minimal doses of radiation to capture images of the body.

Why is it performed?

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:

- shortness of breath

- a bad or persistent cough

- chest pain or injury

- fever

Chest x-rays help physicians diagnose or monitor conditions such as:

- pneumonia

- heart failure and other heart conditions

- emphysema

- Lung cancer

- line and tube placement

- fluid or air collection around the lungs

- other medical conditions

How should I prepare?

A chest x-ray requires no special preparation. You will be asked to remove all clothing above the waist including jewelry in the chest area and change into a gown.

Women should always inform the technologist if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.

How is it performed?

Typically 2 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.

A licensed Radiologic Technologist, an individual specially trained to perform radiology examinations, positions the patient with hands on hips and chest pressed against the imaging plate. For the second view, the patient's side is against the image plate with arms elevated.

Patient's who cannot stand may be positioned lying down on a table or stretcher.

A lead apron may be placed over your pelvic area to protect from radiation.

You must hold very still and asked to keep from breathing for a few seconds while the x-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. The technologist will walk behind a wall to activate the x-ray machine.

What will I experience during and after the procedure?

A chest x-ray itself is a painless procedure.

Individuals with arthritis or injuries to the chest wall, shoulders or arms may have discomfort trying to stay still during the examination. Our technologists will assist you in finding the most comfortable position possible that still ensures diagnostic quality.

A chest x-ray examination is usually complete within 10 minutes.

One of our board certified radiologists will interpret the images and send a report to your referring physician within 24 hours.