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What Is a Chest X-ray B Read?

What Is a Chest X-ray B Read?

A chest X-ray B Read is a more detailed interpretation that can identify exposure and signs of pneumoconiosis caused by substances such as silica, dust and asbestos.

B readers are usually pulmonologists or radiologists who have completed special training and passed the National Institute of Occupation Health and Safety (Opens in a new window) (Opens in a new window) (NIOSH) B Reader Exam. This extra training ensures B readers have the knowledge and expertise to classify X-rays of pneumoconiosis using strict guidelines. The B reader exam is difficult and only about 40% of doctors who take it will pass the first time. B readers must re-certify every 5 years.

NIOSH has strict guidelines in place for B Read x-rays, which include protocols for methodically examining the x-ray and recording changes and anomalies on the x-ray that can be caused by dust inhalation and fibers.

B readers examine the lungs in great detail, looking for scarring and other changes that might indicate the disease. These physicians know how different dusts affect the lungs and how each appears in an X-ray.

The results of a B read can help determine if a worker has pneumoconiosis and which treatments are appropriate. The B read can also indicate if a worker is eligible for federal benefits due to occupational dust exposure.

There are less than 200 certified B readers in the United States. Of the six certified B readers in Colorado, three are at National Jewish Health.