Chest X-Ray is performed as a routine during hospital admission. It is use to diagnose pulmonary diseases and assess the status of the heart, gastrointestinal tract, thyroid gland, bones of the thorax, and diaphragm. It also helps in monitoring osteoarthritis and heart enlargement.
Some doctors use it to identify placement of the central lines, pulmonary artery catheters, endotracheal tubes, nasogastric and nasoenteric tubes, pacemaker wires and other invasive devices.
Chest X-Ray result may show different diseases such as pneumonia, lung abscess, pneumothorax, and pericardial and pleural effusions in the lungs, thorax, gastrointestinal tract, heart, diaphragm, and other systems. It also evaluates trauma to thorax, detect incorrectly placed monitoring devices, and notes invasive lines. If patient can't be moved, a portable X-ray machine can be brought to the patient's room or nursing unit.
Obesity, lack of full inspiration, and inability to remain still might interfere the results of the test.
Identify correct patient's name. Before test, explain procedure to the patient and assess patient's understanding. Instruct patient to remove prosthesis, jewelries, eye glasses, and other metals. Assure patient that exposure to radiation is minimal. Provide privacy to change patient gown.
For pregnant women, provide shield to protect the fetus if test is needed during pregnancy. For infants and children, they need to be sedated. Place on blanket for comfort. Be considerate and have patience with older people, they might experience difficulty in staying still in positions during the test, so test might take longer.
Patient don't need to fast but instruct patient not to drink milk to prevent masking lung structure. Before the test, advice patient to try to stay still as possible because the position for the test is uncomfortable. Place patient in a standing position or if he can't stand, position upright. During test, give instructions to take a deep breath and hold it or exhale but don't breathe when the film is being taken.