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Perfusion Scan

Perfusion Scans look at the blood flow in the lungs; 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.

Your doctor may recommend a Perfusion Scan to:

  • Find a blood clot that is preventing normal blood flow (perfusion) to part of a lung (pulmonary embolism)
  • Evaluate the flow of blood or air through the lungs, or to observe which parts of the lungs are working and which are damaged

For a Perfusion Scan, you will either lie on your back with the scanning camera positioned over your chest or you will sit with the camera positioned next to your chest. The camera does not produce any radiation, so you are not exposed to any additional radiation while the scan is being done. Then a small amount radioactive tracer is injected into the clean site on your arm. After the radioactive tracer is injected, the camera will scan for radiation released by the tracer and produce pictures as the tracer moves through your lungs. You may be asked to move into different positions (onto your side and stomach) so your lungs can be viewed from other angles, or the camera may be repositioned around your chest to obtain other views. You need to remain very still during the scans to avoid blurring the pictures. The perfusion scan takes about 15 to 30 minutes.

For Physicians

External cameras capture internal images emitted by radiopharmaceuticals to detect and track disease.

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