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A 22-year-old member asked:

I feel short of breath a lot but my doctor says my chest x-ray is clear.does this mean that my lungs are ok?

5 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Dean Giannone
Internal Medicine 26 years experience
No: A chest xray might not pick up the early stages of copd, so might be normal with symptomatic disease. A pulmonary function test would be a better option for you.
Dr. Cynthia Point
Specializes in Internal Medicine
No: Some unusual problems can cause dyspnea with a normal x-ray. Chronic pulmonary embolisms can do it, and pulmonary fibrosis in the early stage can look fairly normal on the x-ray. COPD also in the early stages can be there with a normal x-ray. You may need to see a pulmonary specialist to have additional testing to find out if your lungs are ok.
Dr. Pierre Semrani
Specializes in Family Medicine
No: Shortness of breath can be from the "lungs" or from the "heart": a chest xray by itself does not rule out all the causes; more information is needed...
Dr. Jacob Mirman
Internal Medicine 35 years experience
No: Chest x-ray can diagnose some lung conditions, but not others. Much more information is needed to even start answering this question. Age? Industrial exposures? Emotional issues? Findings on physical exam?.. More tests may be necessary, such as pulmonary function studies, and others. The diagnosis for this complaint can range from asthma to pulmonary fibrosis (unusual) to anxiety (most common).
Dr. Stephen Saponaro
Specializes in Radiology
No: A chest xray can be "clear" even when there are significant lung problems. In some cases, a ct chest may discover abnormalities that a chest xray did not. Your doctor can help determine this.
Last updated Mar 16, 2017

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