A chest X-ray provides a picture of the heart and lungs. Although COPD cannot be diagnosed with a chest X-ray alone, it can help your doctor evaluate shortness of breath, help support a diagnosis of COPD, and detect advanced emphysema.
A chest X-ray is done at the time of initial diagnosis of COPD. Although routine follow-up chest X-rays are not usually done, many doctors advise smokers and recent ex-smokers to have this test every 1 to 2 years.
Abnormal chest X-ray findings are usually not seen until COPD is severe. In this case, the X-ray may show:
A normal chest X-ray does not mean you do not have COPD. It may be most useful for ruling out other conditions that might be causing your breathing problems, such as lung cancer, heart failure, pneumonia, or tuberculosis.
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