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Chest X-Ray

This is the most common test done and is an X-ray showing your airway, your windpipe, lungs, heart and your chest bone structure. If you believe you may be pregnant you should inform the staff prior to the commencement of the investigation. The doctor will usually ask for a chest X-ray to be done because you are suffering from a condition which needs monitoring or because you have been suffering from i.e.

  • You may have had a persistent cough of over three weeks duration
  • You have been coughing and bringing up blood
  • You have developed a hoarse or croaky voice
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty with breathing
  • You have chest pain
  • You have had a chest injury
  • You have unexplained weight loss
  • You have glands in your neck or above your collar bone that are swollen
  • You have been exposed to asbestos
  • You doctor may suspect you have cancer after listening to your symptoms

If you have an outpatient appointment for a chest x-ray this should be done within two weeks of your doctor requesting it. The results should come through to your doctor 7 to 10 days later.


The amount of radiation received during an x-ray is the same as a few days of naturally occurring environmental radiation.

There is no preparation you need to do prior to arriving in the x-ray department.

The Procedure:

  • You may be asked to remove the top layers of your clothing and put on a gown. You clothing will either stay with you or be put in a locker whilst the procedure goes ahead

  • You will be shown in to the x-ray room by a technician who will explain what will happen. If you get stiff or are arthritic let the technician know so they are able to position you so you are comfortable

  • You will be asked to stand against a box shaped machine with your hands on your hips and asked to hold your breath while the x- ray is taken. If you are unable to stand you will be positioned on the x-ray table.

  • You will then be asked for a side view and will need to raise your arms out of the way so a clear view is taken again you will need to hold your breath for a few seconds

  • If the x-rays are clear you will be able to get dressed and go home, you will need to wait while they are processed before you can leave the department. The technician will let you know

  • The procedure will only take 15-20 minutes

  • The procedure is not uncomfortable or painful although it may seem a bit chilly in the room and when standing against the box.
The results should be sent from the radiologist at the hospital back to your doctor within 10days.The doctor will contact you with the results and if there needs to be further investigations done.
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