MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

X-Rays of the Chest

By

Thomas Cascino

, MD, MSc, University of Michigan;


Michael J. Shea

, MD, Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan

Last full review/revision Jul 2021| Content last modified Jul 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Topic Resources

Anyone thought to have a heart disorder has chest x-rays Plain X-Rays X-rays are high-energy radiation waves that can penetrate most substances (to varying degrees). In very low doses, x-rays are used to produce images that help doctors diagnose disease. In high... read more taken from the front and the side. Typically, the person is standing upright, but chest x-rays can be done with people lying in bed if they cannot stand. A machine is then used to beam x-rays through the person's body and record a picture on an x-ray film. The test is painless.

The x-rays show the shape and size of the heart and the outline of the large blood vessels in the lungs and chest. Abnormal heart shape or size and abnormalities, such as calcium deposits within blood vessels, are readily seen. Chest x-rays also can detect information about the condition of the lungs, particularly whether blood vessels in the lungs are abnormal and whether there is fluid in or around the lungs.

The appearance of blood vessels in the lungs is often more useful in making a diagnosis than the appearance of the heart itself. For instance, enlargement of the pulmonary arteries (the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs) and narrowing of the arteries within the lung tissue suggest high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries, which may lead to thickening of the muscle of the right ventricle (the lower heart chamber that pumps blood through the pulmonary arteries to the lungs).

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Others also read
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Test your knowledge
Postprandial Hypotension
Postprandial hypotension is an excessive decline in blood pressure after a meal. When it occurs, the person may feel lightheaded or dizzy, and is at risk of falling. For which of the following groups is the risk of postprandial hypotension highest?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP