Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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PE VQ Scan

A nuclear scan of the lung, called a ventilation-perfusion scan (VQ scan), can detect most cases of pulmonary embolism.

This test offers the advantage of being less invasive than pulmonary angiography and thus, presents less risk for complications. In addition, a VQ scan exposes the body to much less radiation than a helical CT scan.

During VQ scanning, radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and inhaled in a mixture of air. Afterward, images of the lungs are taken with a gamma camera.

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Last Updated: Nov 2, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed PE References
  1. Fedullo PF, Tapson VF. Clinical practice. The evaluation of suspected pulmonary embolism. N Engl J Med. 2003 Sep 25;349(13):1247-56. [14507950]
  2. Kruip MJ, Leclercq MG, van der Heul C, Prins MH, Buller HR. Diagnostic strategies for excluding pulmonary embolism in clinical outcome studies. A systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2003 Jun 17;138(12):941-51. [12809450]
  3. Roberts KE, Hamele-Bena D, Saqi A, Stein CA, Cole RP. Pulmonary tumor embolism: a review of the literature. Am J Med. 2003 Aug 15;115(3):228-32. [12935829]
  4. Roy PM, Colombet I, Durieux P, Chatellier G, Sors H, Meyer G. Systematic review and meta-analysis of strategies for the diagnosis of suspected pulmonary embolism. BMJ. 2005 Jul 30;331(7511):259. [16052017]
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