Chest imaging is an important tool in managing critically ill patients. Basic chest radiology is still used to quickly detect abnormalities in the chest. Critical care nurses are often the ones who first read the radiologist’s report of chest radiograph results and provide their interpretation to a physician. Oftentimes, chest radiographs are obtained routinely on a daily basis for every critical care patient, with the goal of effective clinical management. Critical care nurses can confirm cardiopulmonary assessment findings by also evaluating their patient’s chest radiographs and reviewing the radiologist’s report. By learning some basic skills in interpreting and evaluating chest radiographs, nurses can recognize and localize gross pathologic changes visible on a chest radiograph. This article provides basic chest radiograph interpretation information that allows readers to review relevant anatomy and physiology, summarize normal and abnormal findings on chest radiographs, and describe radiographic findings in common pulmonary and cardiac disorders.

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