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Chest X-ray (Chest Radiography)

Chest X-ray (Chest radiography, CXR) is one of the most constantly effected radiological demonstration. A chest x-ray is a painless, non-invasive touchstone uses electromagnetic waves to consequence visual pictures of the disposition, lungs, bones, and blood vessels of the chest. Air intervals usually seen in the lungs answer sombre on the chest films. A basic chest x-ray includes supporteroanterior (PA) sight, in which x-rays by from the end to the aspect of the substance, and a left indirect sight. Other projections such as indirect decubitus, lordotic sights, or angular sight can be requested also. For critically ill endurings who cannot concession the nursing ace, a light x-ray means is effected at the bedplane using anteroposterior (AP) projections forthcoming a continuance an importation of a indirect decubitus sight if a operating course clear or air is reputed.

Chest pictures should be examined in unmeasured inspiration and raise if manageable to refer cardiac magnification and inform clear levels. Expiration pictures may be needed to realize a pneumothorax or establish extraneous materials. Rib component pictures may be captured to draw bone pathology, advantageous when chest radiographs embody metastatic lesions or fractures. In the onset of the illness arrangement of asthma, tuberculosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary illness, chest x-ray fruits may not correlate forthcoming a continuance the enduring’s clinical status and may courteous-balanced be usual.

Nurses are legitimate for ensuring the self-satisfaction of the enduring continuance at the x-ray ground since some may trial pain from waste or symptoms from a illness circumstances as courteous as the insight encircling what the fruit may semblance. In importation, pliant a amiable attribute picture relies on the force of the enduring to relieve such as encroachment expiration for a continuance of interval. Providing a quiet and relaxed environment for the enduring is in-fact paramount.

This diagnostic and laboratory act consider guide can aid nurses perceive their tasks and responsibilities during a chest x-ray.

Indications of Chest X-ray

Here are some of the reasons why a Chest x-ray is effected:

  • Assist in the idiosyncrasy of diaphragmatic hernia, lung protuberances, and metastasis
  • Detect unconcealed or reputed pulmonary, cardiovascular, and skeletal disorders
  • Identify the intercourse of chest trauma
  • Confirm punish importation and comcomlasting of the endotracheal tube, tracheostomy tube, chest tubes, convenient venous catheters, nasogastric feeding tube, pacemaker wires, intraortic balloon cross-examine, Swan-Ganz catheters, and spontaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  • Evaluate actual clear protein derivative (PPD) or Mantoux touchstone for pulmonary tuberculosis.
  • Monitor progressions, resolutions, or means-of-support of illness
  • Evaluate the enduring’s exculpation to a therapeutic cheer (antibiotic, chemotherapy)


Chest X-ray is not beneficial for:

  • Patients who are generative or reputed of life generative true the possible favors of a act using radiation overbalance the lavish of kind and fetal hurt

Interfering Factors

These are factors or circumstancess that may modify the accrueder of Chest X-ray:

  • Presence of musical objects forthcoming a continuancein the area of demonstration
  • Excessive or needless motions made by the enduring during the act
  • Inpunish comcomlasting of the enduring, which may consequence bald pitfall of the area to be examined
  • Inforce of the enduring to captivate unmeasured inspiration
  • Improper structure of the radiographic equipment to accommodate attenuated or pursy endurings, which can fruit in underpitfall or overpitfall of the films


The act for chest x-rays is as follows:

  1. Items are separated
    Patients obtain be asked to separate any investment, jewelry, or other tenets that may interfere forthcoming a continuance the consider.
  2. Appropriate investment is given
    Patients obtain be supposing by an X-ray gown to sport.
  3. Positioning the enduring
    The enduring in a lasting or sitting comcomlasting obtain aspect the cassette or picture undeceiver forthcoming a continuance hands on hips, snuff deeply, restrain one’s expiration until the X-ray picture is made. For a indirect sight, the chest is comcomlasting on the left plane opposite the picture restrainer forthcoming a continuance hands loud over the crisis.
  4. Images are captured
    The x-ray technician obtain exist subsequently a protective pat continuance the films are life plain forthcoming a continuancein a few minutes.

Nursing Responsibilities for Chest X-ray

The subjoined are the nursing interventions and nursing prudence considerations for the enduring

Before Chest X-ray

The subjoined are the nursing interventions anterior to chest x-ray:

  • Remove all musical objects. Items such as jewelry, pins, buttons etc can above the visualization of the chest.
  • No provision is required. Fasting or medication exclusion is not needed true directed by the bloom prudence provider.
  • Ensure the enduring is not generative or reputed to be generative. X-rays are usually not recommended for generative women true the favor overbalances the lavish of hurt to the dowager and fetus.
  • Assess the enduring’s force to restrain his or her expiration. Holding one’s expiration forthcoming inhaling enables the lungs and discomlasting to be seen past distinctly in the x-ray.
  • Provide expend investment. Patients are instructed to separate investment from the waist up and put on an X-ray gown to sport during the act.
  • Instruct enduring to relieve during the act. The enduring is asked to accrue quiet owing any motion obtain pretend the clarity of the picture.

After Chest X-ray

The nurse should voicelessness of the subjoined nursing interventions forthcoming chest x-ray:

  • No proper prudence. Voicelessness that no proper prudence is required subjoined the act
  • Provide self-satisfaction. If the touchstone is facilitated at the bedside, recomlasting the enduring unexceptionably.

Normal Results

Normal findings in a chest x-ray obtain semblance a:

  • Normal lung fields, cardiac extent, mediastinal structures, thoracic spine, ribs, and diaphragm

Abusual Results

The subjoined exceptionalities can be seen on a chest x-ray touchstone. These includes:

  • Atelectasis (subjection or marred disquisition of pulmonary parenchyma)
  • Bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchial tube)
  • Cardiomegaly (extension of the disposition)
  • Flattened diaphragm associated forthcoming a continuance hyperinflation of the lung (indicator for COPD)
  • Foreign bodies lodged in the pulmonary rule as seen by a radiopaque object
  • Irregular patchy infiltrates in the lung fields (hortatory of pneumonia)
  • Lung protuberances (riotous and abusual clear immaterial on the lung fields)
  • Malcomlasting of tubes or wires
  • Misalignment or violate of bones (indicating fracture)
  • Pericardial pouring (clear store environing the disposition)
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium)
  • Pleural pouring (clear store forthcoming a continuancein the pleural interval)
  • Pneumothorax (intercourse of air forthcoming a continuancein the pleural interval)
  • Pulmonary bases, infiltrates, fibrosis,
  • Scoliosis (flexion of the spinal column)
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Tuberculosis (patchy, nodular infiltrates usually establishd on the conspicuous lobe lung fields; cavities in the lung)
  • Widened mediastinum (suggesting neoplasm or aortic aneurysm)


Images and photographs cognate to chest x-ray:

Additional resources and references for this Chest X-ray nursing consider guide:

  1. Suzanne C. Smeltzer. Brunner & Suddarth’s Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
  2. Dan L. Hobbs, M.S.R.S., R.T.(R)(CT)(MR): Chest Radiography for Radiologic Technologists
  3. Anne M. Van Leeuwen, Mickey Lynn Bladh. Laboratory & Diagnostic Tests forthcoming a continuance Nursing Implications: Davis’s
  4. Swingler, G. H., & Zwarenstein, M. (2008). Chest radiograph in clever respiratory infectious. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (1). [Link]



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