Chest X-rays produce images of your heart, lungs, blood vessels, airways, and the bones of your chest and spine. Chest X-rays can also reveal fluid in or around your lungs or air surrounding a lung.
If you go to your doctor or the emergency room with chest pain, a chest injury or shortness of breath, you will typically get a chest X-ray. The image helps your doctor determine whether you have heart problems, a collapsed lung, pneumonia, broken ribs, emphysema, cancer or any of several other conditions.
The chest X-ray is a common way to diagnose disease. But it can also be used to tell whether a certain treatment is working. Some people have a series of chest X-rays done over time, to track whether a health problem is getting better or worse.