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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Can you please advise what a lung shadow is and if some shadows can appear more suspicious than others? I was told I had a soft tissue shadow, post thorax on a chext xray and needed to repeat the xray in 4 weeks. Why the wait and not a CT scan? I am thinking because it does not appear suspicious. I am a non smoking female in my early fourties. I had an EKG before abd an electrode was left on my side, could this cause an artefact?
A lung shadow can be one type of abnormality that is seen on a chest x-ray (CXR). It may be an artifact of something that is on the chest when the CXR is taken or it can be a true abnormality. Some shadows can be more suspicious than others and need to be explained or followed to make sure that they are not changing or ensure that they are resolving. The decision to repeat a CXR or to obtain a chest CT scan is based on a patient's history, risk factors (smoking), other symptoms and the CXR appearance. For example, if a patient has had a recent respiratory tract infection, the shadow is likely related to the infection and it is appropriate to wait and repeat the CXR to make sure the shadow goes away. It would be best to discuss your concerns with your physician to make the correct decision based on your history and CXR appearance.
Nitin Y Bhatt, MD
Clinical Assisstant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University