Question: Does a chest X-ray help diagnose heart failure, and what else might it tell my doctor?
Answer: A chest X-ray is one of the things we often do when someone presents with symptoms of heart failure.
A chest X-ray, is an X-ray of the chest, just as it sounds and you can see a number of things on the chest X-ray.
Obviously like any other X-ray you can see the bones of the given person, but the lungs should not take up a whole lot of X-ray because they are mainly filled with air and the air does not absorb a great deal of X-ray.
So a whole lot more of X-ray gets through the lungs under normal circumstances.
However if a person is short of breath due to heart failure and that's associated with holding on to too much fluid, it can increase the density in the lungs by having more water in the lungs and that can show up on an X-ray.
Also the size and shape of the heart and some other abnormalities of the great vessels and so forth can be seen on an X-Ray and give us a very quick idea as to what sort of heart disease they may be dealing with.