When it comes to our overall health and wellness, one of the most vital subjects has got to be our cardiovascular health or the health of our heart. The heart is vital for life, and along with the rest of our cardiovascular system, ensures that a steady supply of blood, and thus oxygen are being pumped to each and every one of our body’s most vital organs, digits, extremities and much more. And as one of the foremost cardiologists in NYC, Dr. William Kalafatic and his team strive to keep their patients in the best possible cardiovascular health possible, and part of that means using a number of different diagnostic tools, such as the chest x-ray, to better determine and diagnose issues that might be bothering a patient, and effecting their overall health and wellness.
What is a Chest X-Ray?
Like any other type of imaging tests, an x-ray produces a picture of the inner area of the body, so that a doctor or medical professional might get a closer look at how certain vital areas look from within the body. As one of the most revolutionary tools in modern medicine, the chest x-ray is imaging done br many cardiologists allowing them to get a picture of the organs within the chest – the heart and lungs. X-rays, generally use a small amount of radiation in order to provide doctors with a clearer picture of the inner area of the body.
The chest x-ray allows us to identify certain issues such as an enlarged or inflamed heart muscle, as well as the buildup of fluid within the lungs. In many cases, chst x-rays are used in the diagnosis of heart failure patients, as they can help to determine the cause of the heart failure and help them to identify the symptoms involved. The imaging can not only help to identify the source of such issues, but it can also help to rule other sources out – so as to provide a better and more accurate diagnosis. Often, the imaging can help to identify issues such as shortness of breath and fluid buildup within the lungs, and other issues like pneumonia or even emphysema.
Why are Chest X-Rays Used?
In short, just as with any other x-ray or imaging, a chest x-ray allows your cardiologist to get a better understanding of the inside of the heart muscle and surrounding tissue. The chest x-ray is used to examine the structures within the chest, including the bones, heart and lungs. In addition, during certain heart procedures or treatment methods, the use of x-rays can also help to identify the placement of devices such as the pacemaker, defibrillator or tubes placed during hospitalization – catheters, or chest tubes, whether they might be as a means of treatment or monitoring the heart and/or chest. In addition to such methods, the chest x-ray is also used to diagnose cardiac disease, and lung disease, amongst other conditions that begin in the chest area.
How Does an X-Ray Work?
Using a specialized x-ray machine, a beam passes through the patient’s chest area, and onto a specialized film or recording plate that might be placed behind the patient – often at their back or their side area. This will produce a black and white image of the organs and bone structure within the chest. Its important to understand that different parts of the body absorb x-rays differently: the more the x-ray is absorbed, the lighter the tissue appears on the final image. Bone is very dense and absorbs most x-rays, so little of the x-ray reaches the film plate, causing bones to appear white on the final image. Softer tissue, such as the heart, is less dense and allows more x-rays to pass through to the film plate, causing the heart to appear gray on an x-ray film. Hollow organs, such as the lungs and the air in them, allow most x-rays to pass through, so they appear black in the final image. If there is fluid buildup in the lungs, more of the x-rays will be blocked, so these areas will appear lighter than normal lungs.
For more information on chest x-rays and other cardiology tests, be sure to contact Dr. Kalafatic today.