Thoracic spine X-ray examination of patients with back pain using different breathing technique and exposure times: A diagnostic study

A. H. Sønderby, H. Thomsen*, R. G. Skals, S. Storm, P. D.C. Leutscher, A. Simony

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

4 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: The breathing and suspended inspiration techniques are often used interchangeably for spine X-ray examinations. However, these techniques are not always adequately supported by clinical evidence. This study aimed to determine the two techniques’ diagnostic value and adverse image outcomes. Methods: A total of 400 participants were examined on a Siemens Ysio Max system and randomized into four examination groups: suspended inspiration or breathing techniques with exposure times of 1, 2, and 3.2 s, respectively. Two consultant radiologists conducted the evaluation of the X-ray images. If disagreement was present, the radiologists collaboratively reviewed the X-ray images until a consensus was reached. Results: The final 394 study population comprised 275 women and 119 men with a mean age of 64 years (range:18–96 years). The proportions of visually sharp reproduction of the endplates and trabecular structures did not differ significantly with regards to differences in exposure times between groups. The breathing technique groups had significantly higher proportions of blurring and motion artifacts (p < 0.001). However, adverse image outcomes (motions artifacts) were significantly lower in the 1-s exposure group. Conclusions: The suspended inspiration and breathing techniques performed equally well regarding visually sharp reproduction. However, the suspended inspiration technique was superior to the breathing technique. regarding adverse image outcomes, although the latter could be improved by using a shorter exposure time. Implications for practice: The suspended inspiration and breathing technique appeared to perform at equal diagnostic levels. The suspended inspiration technique should be preferred due to its reduced risk of adverse image outcomes. However, the risk could also be reduced using a short exposure time with the breathing technique.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)582-588
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors


  • Breathing technique
  • Diagnostic value
  • Exposure time
  • Motion artifacts
  • Thoracic spine X-ray examination
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed/methods
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Back Pain/diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography
  • Young Adult
  • X-Rays
  • Adolescent
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Respiration


Dive into the research topics of 'Thoracic spine X-ray examination of patients with back pain using different breathing technique and exposure times: A diagnostic study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this