Chest x-ray facts for kids
In radiology, a chest radiograph, colloquially called a chest X-ray (CXR), or chest film, is a projection radiograph of the chest used to diagnose conditions affecting the chest, its contents, and nearby structures. Chest radiographs are the most common film taken in medicine.
Chest x-rays are used to find many diseases inside the chest. A doctor can use an x-ray to examine bones, lungs, heart, and great vessels. Pneumonia and congestive heart failure are commonly diagnosed by chest radiograph. Chest x-rays are used to screen for job-related lung disease, for example in mining where workers breathe dust.
The main regions where a chest X-ray may identify problems may be summarized as ABCDEF by their first letters:
- Airways, including hilar adenopathy or enlargement
- Breast shadows
- Bones, e.g. rib fractures and lytic bone lesions
- Cardiac silhouette, detecting cardiac enlargement
- Costophrenic angles, including pleural effusions
- Diaphragm, e.g. evidence of free air, indicative of perforation of an abdominal viscus
- Edges, e.g. apices for fibrosis, pneumothorax, pleural thickening or plaques
- Extrathoracic tissues
- Fields (lung parenchyma), being evidence of alveolar flooding
- Failure, e.g. alveolar air space disease with prominent vascularity with or without pleural effusions.
While chest radiographs are a cheap and relatively safe method of investigating diseases of the chest, there are a number of serious chest conditions that may be associated with a normal chest radiograph and other means of assessment may be necessary to make the diagnosis. For example, a patient with an acute myocardial infarction may have a completely normal chest radiograph.
Images for kids
A chest radiograph with the angle parts of the ribs and some other landmarks labeled.
A chest film after insertion of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, showing the shock generator in the upper left chest and the electrical lead inside the right heart. Note both radio-opaque coils along the device lead.
Chest x-ray Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.