Ventilation Perfusion Lung Scan (VQ Scan)

This exam is a nuclear medicine procedure that uses a combination of inhalation of a radioactive gas and injection of a radioactive tracer to diagnose the lungs for a blood clot.

Procedure

  • You will breathe in a small amount of radioactive gas. The gas is administered via a mouthpiece or face mask. It is very important to follow the instructions given by the technologist. Images are taken during this phase to evaluate air flow to the lungs.
  • You will then be injected with a small amount of radioactive compound followed by a sequence of eight images acquired at different angles around the lungs.
  • You will be asked to wait while the technologist has the images interpreted by the radiologist. In the event that there is concern over what is determined from the images, your doctor will be contacted for further guidance.
  • Total time for the exam may be up to one hour.
  • Another chest x-ray may be required and would be ordered by the radiologist.

Preparation

  • Bring a prescription if your doctor has given one to you.
  • Bring a list of current medications.

Considerations

  • If you are pregnant or suspect you may be, contact your referring doctor.
  • Tell the technologist if you are planning to travel out of the country.
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