IN THE EVALUATION of patients with abnormal chest roentgenograms, comparison with previous x-ray films is always desirable. When the abnormalities are suggestive of neoplasm or active granulomatous infections, procurement of previous films assumes paramount diagnostic importance. In addition, the less striking abnormalities of the lung, thorax, mediastinum, cardiac silhouette, and pleura can be more accurately interpreted when previous studies are available.
The procurement of earlier roentgenograms is frequently a vexing, time-consuming problem. This is true especially in a migrating population, such as the armed forces personnel and their dependents. The same difficulty is encountered in civilian medical practice, but less often.
Delays in diagnosis and therapy frequently result while attempts are made to procure the earlier films. The anxiety of the patient also increases during the waiting period. Occasionally, the patient is submitted to surgical, diagnostic procedures which could have been avoided if previous x-ray films had been available.
Stonehill RB, Johnson FA. Permanent Plastic-Embedded Minifilms: Follow-Up of Abnormal Chest Roentgenograms. JAMA. 1962;180(5):414–415. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050180060016c
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