Chest x-ray

A Chest x-ray is a type of photograph of the heart, lungs, blood vessels and the bones of the spine and chest. It doesn’t show specific details of the heart and so only general changes in shape and size can be seen.

You will have to visit the radiology department in your hospital. There, you will be asked to stand with your chest pressed up against a photographic plate and to take a deep breath and stand still. The test is painless and harmless and the amount of radiation is small – but the photographic plate may be cold which could be uncomfortable. A radiographer will then press a button that sends a beam of X-rays to the photographic plate.

After a short time, your X-ray will be ready. The doctor will be able to see if your heart is enlarged or if there are any signs of congestion or infection. In addition, the chest X-ray may reveal lung diseases, which may cause symptoms like those experienced by patients with heart failure.

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ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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