The use of X-rays in the diagnosis of bronchial asthma: indications and results

One of the most common diseases of the respiratory system is bronchial asthma. In addition to identifying characteristic symptoms, a number of instrumental studies are required to confirm the diagnosis.

A prerequisite for a comprehensive examination is a spirogram, tests for assessing respiratory functions, etc. Conducting an X-ray of the respiratory organs in bronchial asthma allows it to be distinguished from other diseases in differential diagnosis.

Therefore, it is mandatory to undergo an X-ray examination by a specialized specialist.

Bronchial asthma

Distinguish between uncomplicated and complicated asthma. In the first case, to confirm the diagnosis, as a rule, it is enough to identify the characteristic symptoms and examine a doctor.

Complicated bronchial asthma requires a comprehensive examination with elements of differential diagnosis.

This disease refers to pathologies of the respiratory system and is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • asthma attacks at night;
  • pain and pressure in the chest area;
  • barking cough;
  • frequent shortness of breath even at rest (associated with a violation of the respiratory process);
  • in the supine position, whistling sounds when you exhale.

Late treatment increases the chances of a more severe asthma progression [M8]. In this case, the patient often develops exacerbations when exposed to negative factors (stress, weather conditions, etc.).

The importance of differential diagnosis in asthma

When making a diagnosis, it is very important to differentiate the disease from pathologies similar in symptomatology (respiratory infections, allergies, etc.) in order to prescribe the correct treatment.

For this, in addition to X-ray examination, the patient undergoes a mandatory assessment of the lung function. This type of test is called spirometry. A special clip is put on the patient’s nose, and a tube is inserted into the mouth (the person breathes into it).

At the command of the doctor, the patient takes the deepest possible breath, then exhale sharply. At the same time, the functions of external respiration are assessed , and on the basis of their indicators, the diagnosis of bronchial asthma is confirmed or refuted.

X-ray studies for asthma

One of the frequently prescribed chest examinations is x-rays. The image clearly shows the structure of the lungs and bronchi, possible deviations from the norm are visible.

Chest and diaphragm x-rays are simple and painless.

Today, modern devices are used that allow you to display the resulting image on a computer monitor screen and assess the patient’s condition immediately after the procedure.

X-ray studies are required to diagnose a complicated form of bronchial asthma.


Radiography is considered the most reliable study in the diagnosis of pathologies of the respiratory system. During the procedure, the patient does not feel any discomfort, the resulting image makes it possible to assess the condition of the lungs and bronchi, to identify possible pathological processes.

Today there are several options for radiography: the results are displayed directly on the monitor screen or printed on film. The disadvantage of this study is the exposure to radiation.

Therefore, X-rays are prescribed infrequently and in extreme cases when other diagnostic methods are not informative enough.

An X-ray helps to determine the initial stages of many pathologies of the respiratory system, including emphysema. During an exacerbation of asthma, the resulting image clearly shows the following anomalies:

  • the lung fields have a transparent structure;
  • the dome of the diaphragm is slightly compacted;
  • the mobility of the ribs is very limited;
  • the contours of the heart are not clearly traced.

It is worth noting that mild asthma is not always visible on an x-ray. As asthma becomes more severe, your doctor may make a diagnosis based on changes in the structure of your lungs (but not bronchi).


This is one of the types of X-ray diagnostics. Fluorography is cheaper than an X-ray; it can be done at any clinic.

Each person, passing an annual preventive examination, receives a referral from a therapist for fluorography. Timely diagnosis helps to identify pathologies in the early stages (very often diseases proceed without visible symptoms).

When a diagnosis of bronchial asthma is made, fluorographic examination is rarely prescribed. However, this method makes it possible to identify lung pathologies even in the absence of characteristic symptoms.

If the patient receives unsatisfactory results of a fluorographic image, then he is referred for additional examination.



It is considered a more informative diagnostic method for asthma than a conventional X-ray. On the monitor screen, the doctor can follow the movements of the patient’s chest and diaphragm during inhalation and exhalation.

The result of fluoroscopy is more informative, the structure of organs can be examined in more detail.

This type of research is very relevant for obtaining information in real time. Emergency fluoroscopy is prescribed to the patient if urgent surgical intervention is necessary.

The patient is injected with a special contrast agent (most often barium sulfate), which makes it possible to reveal in detail possible anomalies.

Indications for X-ray examination


The patient will be prescribed an X-ray without fail if bronchial asthma is suspected. This applies to both complicated and uncomplicated forms of the disease.

In the second case, diagnostics helps to exclude possible complications and concomitant pathologies (tuberculosis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive bronchitis, foreign bodies in the bronchi, etc.).

X-ray does not require special training from the patient and the doctor. The procedure is also prescribed in case of emergency, when the patient requires emergency medical care.

A person should consult a specialist for frequent coughing attacks, which are accompanied by shortness of breath and other symptoms characteristic of bronchial asthma. Early diagnosis will help to timely identify the presence of complications and avoid undesirable consequences.

X-ray picture for asthma

The diagnosis must be made by a specialized specialist. Shortness of breath and coughing fits do not always indicate the development of bronchial asthma.

Often, these symptoms occur in severe obstructive bronchitis. In addition to X-ray diagnostics, the patient must be prescribed laboratory blood tests and bacteriological culture of sputum (to exclude tuberculosis).

A sign of asthma with fluoroscopy is an increase in cardiac pulsation, fuzzy contours of the heart muscle, limitation of rib mobility, etc.

With uncomplicated bronchial asthma, especially in a mild form or in remission, abnormalities in the structure of the lung tissue will not be seen on an x-ray. The following changes are characteristic of the disease of moderate and severe degree:

  • an increase in the area of ​​the airspace of the parenchyma (emphysema of the lungs);
  • expansion of the right heart;
  • expansion of individual areas in the bronchi;
  • severe curvature of the chest and kyphosis.

In an acute asthma attack, there are also characteristic signs that a doctor can easily recognize on an X-ray:

  • the same intensity during inhalation and exhalation;
  • omission of the diaphragm;
  • the patient’s ribs are perpendicular to the thoracic spine;
  • the width of the intercostal space increases greatly;
  • the right ventricle of the heart is greatly enlarged.

It is thanks to the changes in the organs that are visible in the picture that the doctor determines the stage of bronchial asthma and the presence of complications. Thanks to accurate diagnosis, the patient is selected an effective treatment regimen.

Radiological signs of asthma complications and comorbidities

On X-rays, an experienced specialist can also detect, in addition to bronchial asthma, signs of concomitant complications – pneumonia, tuberculosis or cancer.

Complicated bronchial asthma looks like this on an x-ray:

  • the roots of the lungs are wide and dense. This indicates an inflammation in the lymph nodes or edema;
  • darkened areas indicate changes in the lungs that accompany the development of malignant tumors or tuberculosis;
  • changes in the vascular pattern of the respiratory system.

There are other signs that indicate complications and concomitant diseases of the respiratory system. If they are identified, the patient is sent for additional examinations, which help to make an accurate diagnosis.

Other methods for diagnosing bronchial asthma

You can check the functionality of the patient’s lungs using the Peak Inspiratory Air Velocity test. Thanks to this method, you can presumably establish the severity of the disease.

Another modern method of examining patients with asthma is computed tomography. Confirmation of the diagnosis is the identification of abnormal changes in the vessels of the lung tissue. Such an examination is expensive and not carried out in all medical institutions.

Additional research methods also include examinations of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract, heart, nasopharynx and other organs and systems. Also, the patient takes immunological tests for the level of antibodies in the body.


After confirming the diagnosis of bronchial asthma, the patient is selected an effective treatment regimen. It includes taking certain medications, spa treatment, physiotherapy, etc.

In the acute stage, the patient may be hospitalized to relieve acute symptoms.

Patients with respiratory pathologies are constantly monitored by doctors, undergoing diagnostics for the timely detection of bronchial asthma.

All studies should preferably be carried out after discontinuation of medication. This will allow you to see a reliable picture, not distorted by symptomatic treatment.

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