Revision 3 for 'Chest x-ray (summary)'

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Chest x-ray (summary)

The chest x-ray is a ubiquitous tool used in the assessment of a vast number of sick (and potentially sick) patients. 

In the early clinical years, it will appear be challenging to interpret. However, with practice and repeated exposure, you will learn to interpret chest x-rays with relative ease.

A chest x-ray can be performed in the radiology department (usually with the patient standing up) or by the bedside. The quality of the radiograph is vastly superior if performed in the department, but this is not always possible - especially when the patient is sick.

The standing chest x-ray sees the patient stand with their chest towards the detector, and exposure to x-rays occurring from their back. This is the PA (posteroanterior) chest x-ray and is the preferred way to perform a study. When the patient is sitting, the detector is placed behind them and the x-ray source is in front of them. This creates an AP (anteroposterior) chest x-ray which is a much inferior study and has the downside of a number of projectional artefacts (like magnification of the heart).

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