Radiating Hope: Radiology Department Blog


What Can a Chest X-ray Show?

Post Date: May 1, 2020
What Can a Chest X-ray Show?

Your child’s healthcare provider may order a chest x-ray for many reasons, including trouble breathing, cough, fever, chest pain, or injury to the chest area. Chest x-rays can identify abnormalities of the lungs, airway, heart, mediastinum (middle chest area), and bones.

Chest x-rays can show infections (such as pneumonia) or a collapsed lung (called a pneumothorax). Chronic lung conditions like asthma and cystic fibrosis can be evaluated with a chest x-ray. Certain cancers can also be identified with chest x-rays.

(Normal chest x-ray, featured image above)

Image: Pneumonia. This chest x-ray displays a large round density in the right upper lung.
Image: Cystic Fibrosis
Image: Osteogenes Imperfecta, type III. Chest & abdomen radiograph. Irregular thickening of the ribs due to multiple healed fractures is present. Multiple clavicular fractures are also seen. The humeri are short, thickened, and the left one is bent.
Image: Anterior Mediastinal Teratoma. There is an abnormal mediastinal mass in the right paraspinal region.

Unless your child is having discomfort moving into different positions due to an injury or recent surgery, a chest x-ray is quick and painless to perform. He or she will need to remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that may get in the way of the exam.

After the exam, the chest x-ray will be interpreted by one of our pediatric radiologists and a report will be sent to your child’s healthcare provider.


Meredith Towbin, copyeditor

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About the author: Glenn Miñano

Glenn Miñano is a media specialist in the Department of Radiology, providing graphic design, photography, printing, video services, and administration of the department’s online properties. His works have been published in several medical articles, such as the American Journal of Radiology and the American Institute of Ultrasound. He has been providing these services to the Radiology Department since 1996.