X – Ray Chest Left LATeral

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Overview Brief

Left Lateral Chest X-Ray(CXR) is a common type of imaging test for the thoracic region. It is used to assess shortness of breath, chest pain, trauma, and occult disease.

What Is Left Lateral Chest X-Ray?

Left Lateral and Posteroanterior(PA) Chest X-Rays together are primary imaging tests used in treating ailments of the thoracic region.

Nowadays Computerized Tomography(CT) is used to examine the thoracic area and Lateral CXR is less frequently as it is more difficult to interpret. Nevertheless it contains vital information on the thoracic cage, pleura, lungs, heart, mediastinum and upper abdomen. CXR is less expensive than CT. The four indications for Lateral CXR are to localize lesions seen on frontal CXR, clarify lobar collapse/consolidation, explore retrosternal/retrocardiac shadow or confirm presence of pseudotumor.

Lateral CXR can be performed with patient standing upright, lying down or semi-erect position. While lying down, X-Ray film is placed behind the patient.

How Is Left Lateral Chest X-Ray Performed?

Steps to perform this X-Ray are:

  • The patient is made to change into a hospital gown, with radiopaque items removed.
  • Patient is made to stand upright.
  • Patient’s arms are placed on the head or holding onto handles.
  • Left shoulder placed firmly against the image receptor.
  • Chin raised out of image field.
  • Midsagittal plane perpendicular to the divergent X-Ray beam.

It is usually performed in supine or barely sitting up in emergency rooms. 

Side Effects/Risks Of Left Lateral Chest X-Ray

Risks associated include:

  • Radiation exposure for those regularly getting X-Rays done.
  • Exposure of abdominal area to X-Rays for pregnant women or those likely to be pregnant.

Preparation Before Performing Left Lateral Chest X-Ray

Before Lateral CXR you need to:

  • Undress from the waist up and wear a hospital gown.
  • Remove jewelry.
  • Inform radiologist about ferromagnetic implants.

Post-care after Left Lateral Chest X-Ray

This X-Ray is a painless process and no sensation will be felt as the radiation passes.           

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