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Chest X-ray

Information about chest x-ray (CXR)
Lung X Ray
© Normal PA chest x-ray by Yale Rosen licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (modified image)
Chest X-ray (CXR) is commonly performed for the diagnosis of various respiratory disorders.

CXR of COPD patients can assist in identifying abnormalities or disease of the airways but the changes are non-specific and do not prove the diagnosis.

Imaging can show if there is fluid in the lungs or fluid or air around the lungs.

More specifically:

  • Flattened hemidiaphragms (part of the diaphragm and one of the main respiratory muscles) due to over-inflation of the lungs

  • Increased antero-posterior (front to back) diameter of the chest

  • The retrosternal air space may become enlarged

  • The lungs become more lucent (giving off light) as the air spaces coalesce into larger simplified air containing regions

  • The vessels in the peripheral lung become cut-off and tapered

  • There may be large, air-containing, cystic spaces in the lungs (bulla)

X-rays are often the first test used to diagnose lung cancer and may also be used in the diagnosis of TB. However, they alone cannot provide a definitive diagnosis.

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Chronic Respiratory Diseases (CRD) in Primary Care Settings

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