Diagnostic Imaging


X-Rays have been used in medical practice since the late 1800’s. Although the technology has greatly improved over the years x-rays are still of limited use in some circumstances. For us, as Respiratory Therapists, the chest x-ray is most often the first diagnostic image of choice. It’s quick, easily performed, and by comparison delivers a relatively small dose of x-radiation then it’s “big-brother”: Computed Tomography or CT scan.

Although very useful, we must continually keep in mind the limitations of the standard chest x-ray as a diagnostic tool. As an example; a patient complaining of mild to moderate shortness of breathe, who presents with or without chest pain. A clean chest x-ray should raise more questions than it answers. There should always be a moderate level of suspicion when similar cases are presented. Look further. Obtain a more detailed diagnostic image study such as computed tomography. Most often the short-term benefit far outweighs the future radiation risk.

What I am demonstrating in the 2 examples below (Coming SOON) is one very important fact. X-rays can be very deceiving, and following that deception can sometimes be a fatal mistake. Set-1 and set-2 are actually the same patient. In each set the chest x-ray and accompaning CT were taken on the same day. Look at the x-ray first very carefully. Then look through the CT images.

As always if you have any questions or comments please drop me a note.

J. D'Urbano, RRT


  1. Chest X-Ray vs. Computed Tomography - Set-1
  2. Chest X-Ray vs. Computed Tomography - Set-2




NOTICE from the Author:

No Medical Advice: These writings are my own personal words based solely on my own personal clinical experiences, education, and research. I am NOT a Physician and therefore DO NOT give out medical advice under any circumstance. The writings within BreathSounds, BreathSounds Media, and BreathSounds.Org are in no way intended to be taken as medical advice of any kind.

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