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Chest fluoroscopy is a type of imaging test that uses a fluoroscope (a special type of X-ray machine), which allows your health care provider to see live images of the inside of your body. It’s a kind of X-ray movie, but uses more radiation that your standard chest X-ray so your health care provider will make sure it’s absolutely necessary in order to make a diagnosis.
Chest fluoroscopy is an important diagnostic tool if your health care provider wants to see how well your lungs, diaphragm or other parts of your chest are working. Your provider may order this test if she suspects you may have:1
Before you agree to the procedure, be sure you know:1
There’s really nothing you have to do to prepare for the test. Your health care provider will explain the chest fluoroscopy procedure to you and answer any questions you may have about the test. After she explains the test, you’ll be asked to sign a consent form giving permission for the procedure. You will want to tell your provider if you’re pregnant or think you may be pregnant as exposure to radiation while pregnant may cause birth defects. You don’t have to worry about avoiding food or drink before the procedure. The procedure doesn’t require sedation.1
Chest fluoroscopy is performed either on an out-patient or an in-patient basis. The way the test is done varies from patient to patient but is generally based upon your condition and your provider’s practices.
In general, the test follows this process:
Fluoroscopy carries some risk, as do any other X-ray procedures. The radiation dose a patient receives during the procedure depends upon the procedure. It can result in relatively high radiation doses, especially during complex interventional procedures such as placing a stent or another device within the body. Radiation risks associated with chest fluoroscopy are:
The probability of a patient experiencing these effects are very low. It’s concluded that if a patient needs this procedure, the benefits of getting it far outweigh the risks.2
For more information about chest fluoroscopy, talk to your primary care provider or your lung specialist.
 Johns Hopkins Health Library. Chest Fluoroscopy. Accessed November 28, 2017.
 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Fluoroscopy. Last update March, 2, 2017.