Chest x-ray: initial review (summary)

Dr Yair Glick and Dr Jeremy Jones et al.
This is a basic article for medical students and other non-radiologists

Chest x-ray review is a key competency for medical students, junior doctors and other allied health professionals. The A, B, C, D, E method is helpful for approaching a chest x-ray in a systematic manner. However, before jumping into the film, you need to perform an initial review.

Reference article

This is a summary article; we do not have a more in-depth reference article.


  • who, what, where, why and when
    • whose film is it?
      • John Smith, DOB 12 Jan 1952
    • what are you looking at?
      • PA chest x-ray
    • where was it done?
      • ED
    • why was it done?
      • increased shortness of breath
    • when was it performed?
      • 21 Jun 2014, 14:45
  • quality
    • rotation
      • medial ends of the clavicles equidistant from the spinous processes
    • inspiration
      • diaphragm at 10-11 posterior ribs on the left​
    • penetration
      • intervertebral discs of the mid-thoracic spine should be clearly visible
        • this is less important now than in the predigital film era, as digital images can be re-windowed
Medical student radiology curriculum

Article information

rID: 32476
System: Chest
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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Cases and figures

  • ETT too low at carina
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  • ETT in RMB with left lung collapse
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  • Appropriate NG tube position
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  • NG tube in left main bronchus
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