Lung – V/Q Scan

What is a lung scan?

The lung scan is used to determine the cause of shortness of breath or chest pain. It is used to evaluate possible blood clots (pulmonary embolism) in the lungs. The lung scan usually is performed in two parts: first the ventilation image is acquired to determine the air supply to the lungs then the perfusion image is obtained which looks at the blood supply. The blood supply is then compared to the air supply to determine if they match. Any mismatch can indicate a pulmonary embolism

Is there any special preparation for the scan?

There is no special preparation for the scan. You can eat as normal and take any medications as usual.

What does the scan involve?

There are two parts to a lung scan, although it may be only necessary to have one. The first part of the test involves breathing-in a slightly radioactive aerosol. This enables an image to be obtained of the air supply to the lungs. The aerosol is delivered through a mask over your nose and mouth and will take about five minutes. The radiographer will then ask you to lie still on the couch. The camera will be positioned above and below your chest and images will be taken. The cameras will then be moved around your chest and further images taken. The camera will be close to your body but will not touch it. This will last about twenty minutes.

If required, for part two of the scan, you will remain lying on the imaging couch. The radiographer will then give you an injection of a radioisotope into a vein in your arm. The radiographer will then reposition the cameras over and below your chest and repeat taking the images as in the first part of the study. This will take about 30 minutes. Occasionally some images may be taken with you sitting upright

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