Introduction to imaging: The chest
In the fourth part of our series, John Frank outlines the techniques used to image the chest
A plain chest x ray will give useful information about the size of the heart and the state of the lungs, but further more detailed investigations are often needed to make a definitive diagnosis. Before requesting complicated procedures, please refer to the Royal College of Radiologists' guidelines, and discuss the case with the imaging department.1
The main structures imaged in the chest are the heart and lungs, although useful information may be obtained about the bones and soft tissues as well. A chest x ray is the most commonly requested radiological examination, it is readily available and many patients present with some sort of chest symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath, or are being followed up for a malignancy. A lot of information can be got from chest x rays; they deserve careful study.
Each person has their own method for examining a chest x ray, but one