From the Desk of Assistant Medical Director,
Ron Lamontagne, MS, APRN, BC:
When Is An Employment Chest X-Ray Needed?
The chest x-ray is the most commonly performed diagnostic x-ray examination. A chest x-ray produces images of the heart, lungs, airways, blood vessels and the bones of the spine and chest.
An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps medical providers diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.
There is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts feel that the benefits outweigh the risks. Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of x-rays.
The need for a chest x-ray vary based on the medical condition the individual is being seen for. Amongst others it is frequently used in individuals who have had a positive TB test.
On a new conversion in a previously negative individual, CDC recommends that a baseline chest x-ray be done and the individual referred for treatment with INH.
On individuals who are known to have been positive and have completed their 9 months of anti-TB meds, further chest x-rays ARE NOT needed unless the individual has symptoms or signs of TB.
Instead of participating in serial skin testing, health care workers with positive PPD results should receive a medical evaluation and a symptom screen.
Health care workers who have a previously positive PPD and change jobs should carry documentation of their PPD results and the results of their baseline chest x- ray and any treatment that they had previously received.