Chest X-Ray

Chest X-ray is a traditional radiographic examination with a long history and it still has an irreplaceable role in modern medicine.


The examination is performed in all radiological departments. The patient preferably stands, but the examination may be also performed in a lying patient in horizontal position. To make the procedure more effective, it is advisable to scan the patient both from the front and from the side.


Chest X-ray is done frequently as the first imaging method in hospitalized patients and it is also an integral part of preoperative examination of persons over 40 years of age. An experienced radiologist is able to obtain a great amount of information from a simple X-ray image, but it is always necessary to compare the X-ray finding with patient symptoms and actual clinical state. Chest X-ray is useful in examination on following chest organs:


We may find local pneumonias and tuberculosis, lung cancers, lung metastases, non-specific changes of lung interstitium in pulmonary fibrosis, thickened pleura in mesothelioma, pleural effusion, pneumothorax and many others.


We evaluate the width of the heart shadow. Wider and enlarged heart may be present in many heart diseases and in some cases of heart failure. Lung congestion is usually seen in the X-ray image in left-sided heart failure.


Even in the simple X-ray image, skilled radiologist can find many pathological conditions including curved spine or larger fractures of vertebrae and ribs.

Thyroid gland

The chest x-ray can cursorily estimate the enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter).


The examination is quick and easily accessible and its evaluation can be done in a very short time by an experienced radiologists. The only disadvantage is a certain radiation exposure. However, the dose is very low.


When there is a good cooperation between the doctor, who indicated the chest X-ray, and the radiologist, the procedure can significantly help in right diagnosis, treatment or indication of more advanced examination method.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources