A lung scan is a type of nuclear scanning test. It uses a special camera to take pictures of the lungs after a radioactive tracer is put into the body. It is most often used to find a pulmonary embolism. This is a blood clot that prevents normal blood flow in the lung.
Two types of lung scans are usually done together:
If both scans are done, the test is called a V/Q scan. The ventilation scan usually is done first.
In most cases, if the lungs are working as they should, both scans will show that the parts of the lungs that are getting air are also getting blood. If the two scan results don't match, the differences can help your doctor diagnose a problem with your lungs.
Lung scan results can help your doctor find out how likely it is that you have a blood clot in your lung. If there is a chance that you have a blood clot, your doctor may order more tests. If the chance is high, your doctor may give you medicine to treat the clot.
A lung scan is done to:
Before your lung scan, tell your doctor if:
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.
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Current as of: October 14, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Howard B. Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology
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