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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.

Back to Imaging Patient Instructions

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO