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Can An X-ray Spot COVID?

A chest radiograph, or x-ray, is a diagnostic test that uses a minimal amount of radiation to create an image of structures within the chest including the lungs, heart, bones, blood vessels and tissue.

Can An X-ray Spot COVID?The chest x-ray is a common study ordered for patients with breathing problems. As the recent pandemic has unfolded, healthcare providers have utilized all tools available including x-rays to diagnose and treat patients with COVID-19.

What is Important to Know

  • A chest x-ray alone cannot diagnose COVID-19 infection. The imaging can show if a patient has pneumonia or other physical changes to the lung that result from an infection. However, many viruses, bacteria, and other disease processes can cause respiratory problems visible on chest radiographs. Additional lab testing is needed to confirm the cause of any issues found.
  • A normal chest x-ray cannot exclude the possibility of COVID-19. Just as an abnormal chest x-ray does not diagnose COVID-19 infection, normal images do not rule it out either.
  • Comparing chest x-rays over time is helpful in showing the changes of lung appearance following severe cases of COVID. Serial chest images have been invaluable in helping physicians and researchers learn how the COVID virus transforms lung anatomy.

So, can an x-ray spot COVID? The simple answer is no. Digital chest radiographs are an imperative part of the diagnosis and treatment of many ailments. They are used to rule out or confirm disease processes that may result from COVID infection, but no feature on a chest x-ray unique to COVID-19 infection has been found.

If your healthcare provider orders a chest radiograph for you, don’t forget that you have a choice in where that imaging is performed. Watson Imaging Center has walk-in appointments available. We genuinely care about your health needs and stand ready to help you today.

Call us at (314) 781-9711 to schedule!

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With our convenient office hours, many procedures can take only ten minutes or less and walk-in x-rays are welcome.

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