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
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
Abnormal chest X-ray findings are usually not seen until COPD is
severe. In this case, the X-ray may show:
Flattening of the
diaphragm, the large muscle that separates the lungs
and heart from the abdominal cavity.
Increased size of the chest,
as measured from front to back.
A long narrow heart.
Abnormal air collections within the lung (focal bullae).