Chest X-Ray: About Your Child's Test

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What is it?

A chest X-ray is a picture of the chest that shows your child's heart, lungs, airway, blood vessels, and lymph nodes. Chest X-rays can also show the bones of your child's spine and chest.

Why is this test done?

A chest X-ray is done to find problems with the organs and structures inside the chest.

How do you prepare for the test?

In general, there's nothing you have to do before this test, unless your doctor tells you so. You can tell your child that he or she won't feel any pain from the chest X-ray itself.

How is the test done?

  • Your child will need to remove any jewelry that might get in the way of the X-ray picture.
  • Your child may need to take off all or most of his or her clothes above the waist. Your child will be given a gown to wear during the test.
  • Your child stands or lies down with his or her chest against an X-ray plate for the pictures.
  • Your child will need to hold very still while the X-ray is taken. Your child may be asked to hold his or her breath for a few seconds. You can help by showing how to take a deep breath and hold it in.
  • If a child has pain from a chest problem, it may be a little hard to hold a certain position, breathe deep, or hold a deep breath while the X-ray is done. You can help encourage your child to do the best that he or she can.
  • If your child is too young or isn't able to stay still or hold his or her breath, you may also be able to help. Ask the X-ray technician if you can stay in the room. You will need to wear a special vest to block the X-rays. You can comfort your child, hold your child's hand, or help him or her keep still.

How long does the test take?

The test will take about 10 minutes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your child's test results.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.