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Chest x-rayThe chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that is very commonly used in routine medical consultation and also in emergency situations. It consists in capturing an image of the chest with the use of x-ray, electromagnetic waves capable of traversing the entire body and reach a detector that measures their presence at each point. In this way, the most solid organs not let rays X (bones, which have calcium) and the lighter allow its passage (the lungs, air-filled).
The test is very simple and very cheap; In addition, thanks to her are obtained clinical data of great importance to issue a diagnosis and to seek a correct treatment the person that needs it. The test is not free of risks, since they use x-rays, which are a source of ionising waves able to mutate cells and predispose to cancer. However, the carcinogenic potential of this test is extremely low. All radiological tests used in medicine (TAC, Digestive transit, hysterosalpingography, etc) is that less radiation submits to the patient, and their benefits outweigh the theoretical risks.
There are several types of chest x-rays:
Anteroposterior (AP): is the most commonly used chest x-ray. She gets a picture of the front of the chest, with the heart in the middle and the lungs on each side. In an emergency room of size medium can be to perform more than 400 AP chest x-rays.
Side: X rays laterally across the chest. Thanks to this type of x-rays we can see if there is something behind the heart that was covered in the AP.
Espirada: usually chest x-rays always become inspired, i.e. with the air-filled lungs and holding the breath. But some diseases are more easily if the x-ray is performed having released all the air first.
Lordotic: is oblique way, from bottom to top. Thus X rays reach upper lungs probes without disturb the clavicles.
When a chest x-ray is doneA chest x-ray is done when it wants to study the interior of the thorax by a multitude of reasons. These problems are some of the most common reasons:
Dyspnea: named to the sense of lack of air or fatigue, which is usually a symptom of an respiratory failure, that's oxygen does not reach the blood from the lungs.
Chest pain: the pain in the chest is a sign of alarm from a heart infarction, and an x-ray allows us to rule out other causes of chest pain.
Chest trauma: when a person suffers a blow to the chest x-ray can help detect fractures in the ribs and discard internal damage.
Pneumonia suspected: a person with cough, phlegm and fever has a high probability of suffering from pneumonia. The x-ray is essential to establish the diagnosis.
Suspicion of lung cancer: is the first test to the diagnosis of lung cancer. However, the CT scan is that gets more accurately detect cancer. We must remember that chest radiography is not useful to use as a test for early detection of lung cancer in healthy people.
Preparation for operation: is a vital test to go to surgery, because it allows to detect possible complications that have gone unnoticed.
Preparation for chest radiographyIf they are going to perform a chest x-ray , these are the issues that you must take into account:
Duration: chest x-ray takes to take a few moments. Normally you will be in the hospital a few minutes while waiting, prepare yourself for the test, and is done.
Income: chest x-ray can be done on an outpatient basis. You can put yourself to the test and go your home a little while.
Is necessary to be accompanied?: no, not limited to the person once. It is normal that you can drive or go home by your own foot after.
Drugs: don't need to take any prior medication. All medications taken regularly, though rarely they will influence the outcome of the test must be communicated to the doctor.
Food: it is not necessary to remain in fasting prior to testing. You can drink and eat all you want.
Clothes: you can go to the appointment with the same clothes every day. However, to make the test ask you that you take off the clothes that cover you chest and any necklace or jewelry that is in the skin of the chest. Take this into account if you prefer to leave valuables at home.
Documents: just take your health insurance card if you had to sign in. You do not need your medical history to the test, nor will receive documentation at the end of it.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: chest radiography is absolutely contraindicated in these situations. If there is a minimal chance of being pregnant you should not submit to this test. Usually the doctor performed a pregnancy test before I order. Breastfeeding does not imply a direct contraindication.
Contraindications: pregnancy would be the first absolute contraindication to performing this test. There are no other direct contraindications.
Is the chest x-rayFirst, the doctor will assess if you need to make you a chest x-ray. That day may make you the test, especially if it is a consultation in the Emergency Department, or you can also quote for another day; in that case, the day that you have proof you don't have to change your routine, and there is no reason to get nervous.
To perform the test ask you first that you take off all the clothing of the torso, from the shirt, until the holder in the case of women. Also have to take off your pendants, piercings, or any strange element that is on the surface of the chest or back. Once you've removed you clothes ask you come near the machine that makes the x-rays.
You will have to stand face to a metal plate, with the chest well glued to its surface. So the image will be more defined and you can study better chest. The surface of the plate will be cold, but it can withstand. X-ray technician will then exit the room to avoid radiation. It does not because the radioactive dose is very high, but must take into account that it is every day in that room, and if you receive daily radiation, however small, that is, you accumulate and damage you.
From the outside the technician will ask you to take air deeply. When you inflate the chest machine Fire x-rays and radiological imageis obtained. This lasts a moment, you will not even notice. The technician at the same time you can see the image and assessed broadly if it is valid to study chest. If it has not been, they will have to repeat the shot, but this happens very rarely.
Achieved once ideal image doctor can study it and look for alterations in it to help the diagnosis of the problem whereby the consultations. Today x-rays are almost always on the computer, but there are still places where the x-ray on plastic paper is printed.
Complications of chest radiographyChest x-rays have no real complications for those who undergo them. The radiation involved is minimal and not considered to be a risk factor for developing cancer if they are used in a timely manner in years. X-ray technicians and radiologists have detectors that measure radiation accumulated over weeks, since they must not exceed an annual limit to avoid risks.
Results of chest x-rayNothing else made the chest x-ray you can see the same data. However, small changes in the test may be misinterpreted, and therefore it is better the doctor carefully study them and assess them in relation to the rest of the evidence that you made.
In the the x-ray image be displayed the following structures:
Heart: must not occupy more than half of the chest. When it exceeds 50% of the width is considered that the heart is too big and is spoken of cardiomegaly.
Lungs: tend to be black, with small grey traces by the blood vessels and bronchi. If a pneumonia or heart failure, they are filled with liquid partially and white spots will be. The same thing happens when there is a tumor.
Breast costofrenicos: are the angles forming the ribs with the diaphragm. They are in most side and lower lungs, and to be the point lowest is the first site where in case of pleural effusion fluid accumulates.
Mediastinum: it is located in the central part of the thorax, contains the heart but also large vessels such as the aorta artery and vena cava, and nerve, lymph nodes.
Skeleton: x-ray also ribs, the shoulder joint and spine are. It is not the ideal testing to study the bones, but it can detect alterations.