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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Clots & Anticoagulants

Question: Chest X-Ray a good test for PE?

 lindzyb - Wed Nov 21, 2007 11:49 am

22, overweight, PCOS, hypothyroidism, female.

Last Friday (11/16/07) I went to the ER with chest pain & shortness of breath. The only test they did was a blood test to check for Pneumonia, A urinalysis to test for pregnancy & a chest X ray. They said the chest X ray didn't reveal any 'significant' cardiovascular problems, but they told me I had Bronchitis. I went for a follow up with my Dr. today and he said a regular X ray is not a good test to check for a blood clot/PE. He said if I have anymore chest symptoms to call him or go back to the ER because my symptoms were symptoms of PE. Since last friday I have had SOME chest pain but it is not near as bad as what it was. I have had just below both rib cages, & right in the center (sternum). My initial symptoms which sent me to the ER were severe chest pain in the center of my chest, severe back pain in the center/upper back, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate. My thought was that the initial chest pain from the bronchitis made me have a panic attack, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. I am considering going back to the ER because I still have pain in the center of my back & just around my left shoulder blade, but I haven't had any shortness of breath. The chest pain has been VERY limited the past few days, more random than anything.
 Debbie Miller, RN - Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:11 pm

User avatar The chest x-ray is good for ruling out other lung problems that could cause your symptoms. If you had shown risks or symptoms for PE, such as a deep vein thrombosis, they would probably do other studies to discover if there was a pulmonary embolism. Generally ruling out other problems is first in the diagnostic process.

In most cases there will be breathing difficulty - shortness of breath, etc. In some people, the first symptoms could be light-headedness, fainting, or seizures, resulting from a sudden decrease in the heart's ability to deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the brain and other organs. Irregular heartbeats may also occur. If a person has symptoms such as these, they will likely follow with diagnostic testing specific to pulmonary embolism.

The pain can be from the respiratory infection and bronchitis. You're right to be cautious but you should be able to follow up with your regular doctor and avoid the ER unless you are truly in an emergency with breathing difficulty or other problems.

Best wishes.
 lindzyb - Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:24 pm

Thank you, that helped VERY much. I'm a little more at ease with the whole thing now. I haven't had anymore trouble until today when he mentioned the PE, and I kind of panicked. I'm beginning to think I have some kind of anxiety disorder or just panic attacks.

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