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Chest Radiography

A chest radiograph (also commonly referred to as a "chest x-ray") is an image of the chest taken utilizing x-radiation (x-rays) rather than light, as done in common photography. Unlike light, x-rays can penetrate through tissues of the body to expose x-ray film placed on the opposite side of the patient from the x-ray camera. Chest x-rays are the basic imaging study in both pulmonary medicine and critical care medicine. These studies create 2-dimensional (flat) images of the contents of the chest cavity with organs that are relatively opaque to the x-ray beam (such as the heart, ribs, diaphragms) showing up relatively white, while organs that are relatively translucent (such as the lungs and the windpipe) showing up relatively black. Abnormalities that can be detected by chest x-rays include pneumonias, nodules, lung masses including benign and malignant tumors, cardiac enlargement, lung fluid congestion (congestive heart failure), and pleural fluid collections (pleural effusions). The chest radiograph is an extremely safe test - radiation exposure is minimal.

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