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X-Ray Chest Special Views


Also known as Chest X-ray

X-raying Basics

A chest special view X-ray is a radiograph of the thoracic cavity, which contains the heart, lungs, blood vessels, and thorax bones. Chest X-rays are the most commonly performed procedures; however, special views are less commonly used and for specific reasons. 

Why do you need an X-ray?

Chest special views X-rays are ordered to examine the lungs, chest cavity, its divisions, and the great vessels of the heart. This procedure is pain-free and non-invasive. Doctors frequently used these views to diagnose several acute and chronic conditions involving the thoracic cavity and spine.

This procedure is done to evaluate for special pathologies of the thoracic cavity that typical views cannot confirm. Besides being used to examine many different conditions, special chest views are commonly used to diagnose pneumothorax and related lung issues. These views allow a different view of the lungs and their pleural cavities, making it easy to determine if there are complications.

When do you need to get it?

Chest special views X-rays are ordered because they allow doctors to examine areas and issues that a typical chest X-ray cannot observe. These chest views can reveal many things inside your thoracic cavity, such as: 

  • ● A better view of your lungs’ health since chest special views X-rays can help visualize obscured parts of your lungs. They can show fluid build-up, tumors, infection, or collected gas/fluid. 
  • ● Lung diseases, such as emphysema or tuberculosis
  • ● Identify sternum, rib, or spine fractures. 
  • ● Confirmation of the presence of calcium in your heart/blood vessels; its presence may indicate fats in your vessels, damage to the heart valves, coronary arteries, heart muscle.
  • ● Confirm the presence of inhaled foreign bodies, masses, and lesions.

Do you need to prepare for the X-ray?

There is no special preparation needed for a chest PA view X-ray. However, it is crucial to tell the X-ray technician if you are pregnant since X-rays are not used on pregnant women. 

Before the procedure, you are required to remove your clothing and put on a hospital gown. Additionally, you will be asked to remove accessories and jewelry from the waist up, such as earrings, piercings, glasses, hairpins. You should also tell the X-ray technician if you have surgically implanted devices such as pacemakers or artificial heart valves.

What can you expect from an X-ray? 

A special chest views X-ray consists of four projections. The X-ray technician will position you for the projection your doctor has requested. 

  1. 1.Decubitus view is a specialized view mainly used in pediatrics to locate small build-ups of fluid in the lungs, foreign bodies and to diagnose pneumonia. The decubitus view is utilized instead of usual projections because it can differentiate between pleural effusions in the costophrenic angles and consolidation (also known as pneumonia). For this view, the X-ray technician will ask you to lie down on your side with your arms raised and legs flexed. 
  2. 2.The Lordotic (AP) view is a rare chest projection ordered to examine areas of the lungs that typical projections cannot visualize, such as the top of the lungs. This view is used to scan any abnormalities such as tuberculosis, emphysema, lung tumors, and Pancoast tumors. For this view, the X-ray technician will ask you to stand 30 cm from the detector with your back arched so your head, shoulders, and neck touch the detector.
  3. 3.An expiratory view is one taken during expiration as it presents the thoracic cavity in an enlarged projection. This view is especially helpful in diagnosing pneumothorax and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is also used to assess for inhaled foreign bodies. The technician can take this projection in both PA and AP views. The X-ray technician will guide you into the position needed for this projection.
  4. 4.The oblique view is an angled projection of the chest commonly used to study the ribs and sternum. This view can be helpful in identifying issues not seen in PA, AP, or lateral views such as pulmonary or mediastinal masses, lesions, and the sternum. The technician will ask you to stand in front of the detector with the affected side of the chest at an angle towards the X-ray tube and your chin raised.

What do your X-ray results mean? 

Your doctor or radiologist will use your X-rays to look for signs in the radiograph that may indicate if you have heart failure, fluid around your heart or lungs, cancer, pneumonia, or another condition.

Your physician can then discuss the results of your X-ray with you and describe what treatments and tests, or procedures may be necessary.

Related X-rays: Chest PA, Online Chest 2V, Chest 2v Front and Lat Oblique, Complete Chest, Chest Apical Lordotic View, Chest PA Lateral