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Patient Instructions - Lung Scan

A lung scan (or ventilation-perfusion scan), uses a radioactive substance (or tracer) to examine your lungs.

A lung scan is performed to gain information about the airflow and blood flow in the lungs. It can help detect blood clots (pulmonary emboli), or other abnormalities.

Before your Procedure

  • Tell your physician if you are pregnant or nursing.

  • You should have a chest X-ray done within 12-24 hours of performing the scan. No other preparation is required.

During your Procedure

  • You will first breathe for approximately 3-4 minutes on a machine that contains oxygen and a small amount of radioactivity. The radioactive gas will clear from your lungs as you breathe. The amount of radiation you receive is similar to a chest X-ray. This air mixture will show airflow into your lungs on a series of images.

  • Next, you will have a radioactive substance (or tracer) injected into a vein in your arm. You will not feel any effects from the injection. The radioactive substance travels through the blood and eventually into your lungs.

  • You may be asked to move into different positions so your lungs can be viewed from other angles.

  • It is important to remain very still during the scans to avoid blurring the pictures.

  • Total length of exam is about 1 hour.

After your Procedure

  • Your doctor will be contacted with the results of your test and will discuss the results with you.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider. 

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