BRIAN GADSBY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BRIAN GADSBY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lungs and heart. Chest X-ray of the healthy lungs and heart of a 77-year-old man. The lungs (two black spaces) and heart (lower centre) are enclosed and protected by the rib bones (horizontal), which meet at the breastbone (sternum) at the front of the chest, and the spine at the back of the chest. The heart lies between the two lungs. The upper abdomen and diaphragm are across bottom. The lungs are mostly transparent to X-rays, with opacities being due to blood vessels. The lungs bring air close to the blood, allowing oxygen to be taken up by the body, and carbon dioxide to be released. The heart pumps blood around the body.
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