Research Article| Volume 36, ISSUE 4, P617-631, October 1950

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The nature of the lesions encountered in routine chest x-rays

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      In a chest x-ray survey of 10,598 University students carried out during 1947–1948, 3.3 per cent were found to have abnormalities requiring clinical investigation. Approximately one-half of these abnormalities, however, were found not to exist on 14 in. by 17 in. films. The abnormalities of the remaining half consisted of:
      • 1.
        (a) Pulmonary infiltrates: 14 per cent of which were found to be active tuberculous lesions; 30 per cent of which, though the etiology was not demonstrated, were found to be nontuberculous on the basis of insensitivity of the patient to tuberculin; the remaining 56 per cent, etiology not demonstrated, could potentially be found in later examinations to be tuberculous on the basis of sensitivity of the patient to tuberculin.
        One-half of the persons with infiltrates had no knowledge of the existence of their disease. The detection of the lesions in this group alone amply reaffirms the value of routine x-raying of the chest.
      • 2.
        (b) Skeletal abnormalities: the finding of previously undetected abnormalities of potential harm was limited to two patients with supernumerary ribs and one with a rib cyst.
      • 3.
        (c) Cardiac abnormalities: previously undetected abnormalities consisted of congenital defects and cardiac enlargement of unknown cause.
      • 4.
        (d) Miscellaneous abnormalities: previously undetected abnormalities consisted of a hilar mass and a cardiophrenic mass, neither of which has been identified.
      A chest x-ray provides a means of detecting a wide variety of unsuspected chest abnormalities and should be included routinely in every general medical examination.
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