Chest X-ray

What is a chest X-ray and what can it show?

An X-ray of the chest produces a black-and-white image of the lungs. It also shows an outline of the heart and the pulmonary arteries.The blood vessel delivering blood to the lungs from the right side of the heart. A chest X-ray can show if your heart has become larger than normal. This often happens in people with pulmonary hypertension (PH) because the heart has to work harder. Chest X-rays can also be used to detect causes of breathlessness, other than PH, such as scarring of the lungs.

Whether or not a person has PH, additional testing is normally needed to firmly establish a diagnosis.

A chest X-ray

chest x-ray

How is a chest X-ray done?

A chest X-ray for PH is done like any other X-ray. You will be asked to stand still in front of an X-ray machine. In some cases, two X-rays of the chest will be taken.

Watch a video of a chest X-ray, taken from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA UK) DVD, Understanding Pulmonary Hypertension – a guide to diagnosis and treatment, here.

video link - Chest X-ray


Last updated: April 4th, 2012. Review date April 3rd 2015
A full list of references used can be obtained by contacting the PHA UK Office

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