Chest X-Ray (cont.)
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Chest X-ray Test Procedure
To prepare for a chest X-ray, the patient is typically instructed to wear a gown and remove all metal containing objects around the upper body (necklaces, zippers, bras, buttons, jewelry, eyeglasses, etc.) as these will interfere with the visualization of the tissues. No other specific preparation, such as fasting, is necessary for a routine chest X-ray.
The patient is then asked by the technician to stand in front of a surface adjacent to the film that records the images. The front of the chest is closest to the surface. Another part of the machine that releases the radiation is then placed about 6 feet away, behind the patient. When the positioning is appropriate (normal standing position with arms on the sides), the technician may advise the patient to take a deep breath and hold it and then takes the image by activating the device (similar to taking a regular photograph). The image is then captured on the film within a few seconds. The film can be developed within a few minutes to be reviewed by the doctor.
Usually one image is done from back to front (referred to as posterior-anterior, or "PA" view) as described above a second image using a sideways view from side-to-side (lateral).
In situations where someone is unable to stand (too weak, disabled, or hospitalized), the image can be taken while laying down with the recording surface placed behind the back. Because the image is taken from the front to back in this scenario, it is called an anterior-posterior (AP) view. A lateral film is generally not possible in these situations. This method can also be called a portable chest X-ray because the X-ray machine is wheeled in to the patient in order to take the X-ray. Other chest images from different positions are sometimes ordered by the doctor for special situations.
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