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Chest X-ray

A Chest X-ray is the most commonly performed diagnostic X-ray examination. A chest X-ray produces images of the heart, lungs, airways, blood vessels and the bones of the spine and chest.

The chest X-ray is performed to evaluate the lungs, heart and chest wall. A chest X-ray is typically the first imaging test used to help diagnose symptoms, such as breathing difficulties, a bad or persistent cough, chest pain or injury and fever.

What to Bring

  • Your medical provider order (Your medical provider may have already sent this to us.)
  • Personal identification
  • Insurance card(s)

How to Prepare for Your Chest X-ray

  • A chest X-ray requires no special preparation.
  • You will be asked to remove some of your clothing and to wear a gown during the exam.
  • You may also be asked to remove jewelry, and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the X-ray images. We encourage you to leave valuable jewelry at home.
  • Women within child-bearing age should always inform the X-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an X-ray is necessary, precautions (shielding to the abdomen) will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.
  • If you have an on-body device (insulin pumps, insulin regulators, Neulasta, other chemo pumps, etc.), you must inform your X-ray technologist. These devices cannot be in the X-ray room during your exam.

What to Expect

  • Typically, two views of the chest are taken: one from the back and the other from the side of the body as the patient stands or sits against the image plate. The X-ray technologist will position the patient with their hands on the hips and chest pressed against the image plate. For the second view, the patient's side is against the image plate with arms elevated above the head.
  • Patients who cannot stand may be positioned sitting on a safety chair for chest X-rays.
  • You may be asked to wear a lead shield to help protect certain parts of your body.
  • You must hold very still and may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds while the X-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. The technologist will walk behind a wall or into the next room to activate the X-ray machine.
  • More than 2 views may be required due to positioning, patient body habitus, motion, artifacts, etc.
  • The entire chest X-ray examination, from positioning to obtaining and verifying the images, is usually completed within 15 minutes.

Key Points to Know During and After the Exam

  • A chest X-ray examination is a painless procedure.
  • You may experience discomfort from the cool temperature in the examination room and the coldness of the recording plate.
  • Individuals with arthritis or injuries to the chest wall, shoulders or arms may have discomfort trying to stay still during the examination. The technologist will assist you in finding the most comfortable position possible that still ensures image quality.
  • Follow-up examinations may be necessary. Sometimes a follow-up exam is done because a potential abnormality needs further evaluation with additional views. Sometimes your medical provider would like a special technique to be performed that would only be done upon request.


Call North Oaks Scheduling between 7 am and 5:30 pm.
Hammond: (985) 230-7777
Livingston: (225) 686-4899

If you are a provider and need to send an order, please send it via fax to (985) 230-6781.