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The chest radiological findings and outcomes of 120 consecutive patients attending the Accident & Emergency Department with anterior chest pain were recorded prospectively to investigate the value of routine chest radiography in their management. Twenty-one patients (17.5%) were excluded because of incomplete information. Thirty-seven radiological abnormalities were identified in 33 (33%) of the remaining 99 chest X-rays. Seventeen of the abnormalities identified in 14 (14%) of the chest X-rays were clinically significant. The casualty officer's interpretation of 70 (70%) of the chest X-rays was correct, but 36 errors were made interpreting the other 29 chest X-rays. Of these errors, 19 were false negative errors, resulting in the mismanagement of two patients and 17 false positive errors, resulting in the mismanagement of four patients. It appears that a routine chest X-ray provides little information of practical value in the management of patients with anterior chest pain attending an Accident & Emergency Department, unless the training of medical students and junior doctors in the interpretation of chest X-rays is improved.