Typically, the lung perfusion scan and lung ventilation scan are performed at the same time. The two tests, however, provide different information about the patient's lungs and health. Patients in the Miami, Florida area who are interested in a lung scan should consult a scan center that provides this service to best determine if a lung scan is necessary or can be of service to the patient. Obtaining information about the procedure prior to a consultation or prior to the scan, however, can be helpful.
First, a lung perfusion scan provides the doctor a picture of the patient's blood flow to their lungs. A radioisotope is used to label a small amount of protein that is injected into the patient's vein in the arm or hand. A specially designed camera that is capable of detecting radioactive material is used to take photographs of the patient's chest. The images are then projected onto a screen where the doctor can see how well the radioactive protein was distributed by the blood vessels in the chest.
For a lung ventilation scan, a mask is placed over the patient's nose and mouth. The patient is asked to inhale and exhale air and radioactive gas. Images are taken to determine the distribution of the gas in the patient's lungs. The tests together take about 30 minutes to an hour.
A lung scan may help to detect pulmonary embolisms, determine how much air is flowing to the lungs, to find out which areas of the lungs are capable of ventilation and to see how the lungs are working after surgery. Patients with further questions about the uses of a lung scan should consult a physician in the Miami area for further information.
A lung scan may also involve a CT scan of the chest. This is meant to scan and screen for lung cancer. Detecting lung cancer at an early stage is important in effectively treating lung cancer. Patients should strive to check for lung cancer if they are at high risk of the disease. A dye is used to give the doctor a better view of the patient's chest. Some patients may have an allergy to the dye and should discuss this possibility with their doctor and the medical professional performing the scan.
Patients who are at high risk for lung cancer and who should get screened for lung cancer include people who smoke, people exposed to second hand smoke, patients who have been exposed to asbestos, people who have been exposed radon, patients with a history of tuberculosis, patients who experience weight loss and coughing up blood, patients with a prolonged cough, wheezing and shortness of breath and patients with a family history of lung cancer.
For more information about your individual risk factors, consult a physician and a medical professional at a scan center providing lung scans. Patients should discuss the procedure with their physician and decide if a lung scan may be helpful.
Learn more about lung scans in Miami, Florida.