University of Iowa Department of Radiology, Section of Pediatric Radiology
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A chest X-ray is taken to study the lungs and heart. The best radiograph is obtained when the child's lungs are filled with air. The child is seated or stands against the film holder and is positioned so that all of the lung fields are included. Two views are usually obtained; one from the front and one from the side. Infants and small toddlers are x-rayed while lying down on the film holder.
Occasionally we must gently restrain the child using sandbags. This doesn't hurt the child, but usually makes him angry and he will often cry in protest. This is an advantage for the technologist who can then obtain the X-ray when the child fills his lungs with air. After the X-rays the child is then returned to the parents in the waiting room.
Sometimes the physician orders a cardiac series. This necessitates giving the child some spoonfuls of barium to be swallowed during the chest X-ray.
The parents are asked to wait until the films are processed and checked for quality before leaving the Radiology Department. Occasionally a film must be repeated because of motion or because the radiologist requests an additional view to clarify the diagnosis.
An abdomen X-ray is similar to the chest X-ray except the part of the body being radiographed is different. The child is usually lying down on the table or turned on his side. Sometimes we obtain a view of the abdomen while standing up.
Any questions you may have concerning your child's X-ray are welcome.