A chest x-ray is an x-ray of the chest, lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs, and diaphragm. A chest x-ray is non-invasive and painless and it is used in many cases to find the causes of symptoms such as chronic cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain so as to help your physician in diagnosing conditions of the heart, lungs, bones, or chest cavity.
Chest x-rays do have limits. They only show conditions that change the size of tissues in the chest or how the tissues absorb radiation. Also, chest x rays create two-dimensional pictures. This means that denser structures, like bone or the heart, may hide some signs of disease.
Generally, the patient need no special preparation prior to having x-rays taken.