Ventilation Perfusion Scan

Also known as: pulmonary ventilation/perfusion scan, VQ scan.

What is a ventilation perfusion scan?

A ventilation/perfusion scan is a diagnostic nuclear medicine series of two imaging tests used to look at how air and blood circulates in your child’s lungs.

  • The first scan, (known as a VQ or ventilation quotient scan) measures how well air flows into all parts of the lungs.
  • The second (a perfusion scan), measures how well blood circulates within the lungs.

What happens during the procedure?

During the ventilation part of the test your child will need to breathe into a bag containing oxygen and a radiopharmaceutical gas called xenon-133 through a mask over his/her face, and images will be taken.

During the perfusion part, a short acting safe radioactive material called technetium-99M will be injected into one of your child’s veins. Your child will lie on his or her back and images taken by a special gamma scanner.

Is any special preparation needed?

In most cases, no special preparation is needed.

What are the risk factors?

The procedure is thought to be safe. An intravenous catheter may cause some pain, and very occasionally other problems like bleeding, fever, infection, swelling or damage to nearby tissues may occur. Overall the benefits are thought to outweigh any potential complications that may occur.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: March 15, 2021 11:57 AM

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