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Chest X-Ray (cont.)

How to Prepare for Chest X-ray Test

As noted above, usually a gown is worn and metal containing materials are removed from the body before an X-ray is taken. Pregnant women need to notify the doctor and the technician as some or all images may not be taken in order to avoid unnecessary X-ray radiation exposure to the fetus. Precautions, such as, protective lead covers may be placed on the abdomen to avoid radiation to the fetus when an X-ray is absolutely necessary.

Medical Reasons for Chest X-ray Test

Doctors generally order chest X-ray tests in conjunction with taking a medical history and performing a physical exam to confirm or exclude a suspected chest. Some of the common reasons to order a chest X-ray test are listed below:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Poor oxygenation (hypoxia)
  • Back pain
  • Chest injury
  • Fever
  • Certain abnormalities detected on the doctor's physical examination of the lung, heart, or chest wall (abnormal heart sounds, abnormal lung sounds, chest wall deformity, etc.)
  • Pre-operative evaluation (before an operation to screen for any obvious lung disease)
  • Follow-up of a previously abnormal chest X-ray test
  • To confirm the proper placement of certain devices within the chest, such as pacemakers, endotracheal (breathing tubes - when someone is placed on artificial breathing machine), catheters in large veins of the chest (central lines), etc.

There are many other more specific reasons that a doctor may choose to order a chest X-ray depending on each individual situation.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/1/2016

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