A lung scan is a Reference nuclear scanning test that is most commonly used to detect a blood clot that is preventing normal blood flow to part of a lung (Reference pulmonary embolism Opens New Window). See a picture of a Reference lung scan Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
Two types of lung scans are usually done together:
- Ventilation scan. During a ventilation scan, a Reference radioactive tracer Opens New Window gas or mist is inhaled into the lungs. Pictures from this scan can show areas of the lungs that are not receiving enough air or that retain too much air. Areas of the lung that retain too much air show up as bright or "hot" spots on the pictures. Areas that are not receiving enough air show up as dark or "cold" spots.
- Perfusion scan. During a perfusion scan, a radioactive tracer substance is injected into a vein in the arm. It travels through the bloodstream and into the lungs. Pictures from this scan can show areas of the lungs that are not receiving enough blood. The tracer is absorbed evenly in areas of the lung where the blood flow is normal. These areas show up with the tracer distributed evenly. Areas that are not receiving enough blood show up as cold spots.
If the lungs are working normally, blood flow on a perfusion scan matches air flow on a ventilation scan. A mismatch between the ventilation and perfusion scans may mean a pulmonary embolism.
Ventilation and perfusion scans can be done separately or together to diagnose certain lung diseases. If both scans are done, the test is called a V/Q scan. The ventilation scan usually is done first.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 1, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Myo Min Han, MD - Nuclear Medicine