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Clinical Investigations: RADIOGRAPHS |

Utility of the Lateral Chest Radiograph in the Evaluation of Patients With a Positive Tuberculin Skin Test Result*

Marianne Meyer; Peter Clarke; Anthony W. O’Regan
Author and Funding Information

*From The Pulmonary Center (Drs. Meyer and O’Regan) and Department of Radiology (Dr. Clarke), Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA.

Correspondence to: Anthony O’Regan, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, The Pulmonary Center, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany St, Boston, MA 02118; e-mail: aoregan@lung.bumc.bu.edu



Chest. 2003;124(5):1824-1827. doi:10.1378/chest.124.5.1824
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Study objectives: In the United States, chest radiographs are performed on patients with positive tuberculin skin test (TST) results. It is not known whether, in addition to a single posteroanterior radiograph, a lateral chest radiograph is clinically indicated or cost-effective. We sought to determine the utility of the lateral chest radiograph in evaluating TST-positive adults.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Tertiary-care hospital.

Patients: Adults with positive TST results.

Mreasurements: Findings on posteroanterior radiographs alone were compared to posteroanterior and lateral chest radiographs.

Results: In 2 of 535 cases (0.4%), lateral chest radiographs revealed a calcified granuloma not visible on posteroanterior radiographs. This finding did not alter patient management. In all other cases, lateral radiographs only confirmed findings seen on posteroanterior chest radiographs.

Conclusion: Treatment altering findings were always visible on posteroanterior radiographs alone. These results suggest that lateral chest radiographs are not useful in evaluating adults with positive TST results.


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