A lung scan is a test where a CAT scan image of the lungs is taken. This scan can help identify lung cancer and other lung diseases. In most cases this test is recommended to smokers but it is sometimes recommended to patients showing signs of lung disease.
Why It Is Done
A lung scan is done to:
- Find a blood clot that is preventing normal blood flow (perfusion) to part of a lung (pulmonary embolism).
- Evaluate the flow of blood (perfusion) or air (ventilation) through the lungs.
- See which parts of the lungs are working and which are damaged. This is often done before lung surgery to remove parts of the lung.
How It Is Done
A lung scan is usually done by a nuclear medicine technologist while the scan pictures are interpreted by a radiologist.
You will need to remove any jewelry that might interfere with the scan and take off all or most of your clothing, depending on which area is being examined. You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.
During the scan, you will either lay 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.
The results of a lung scan are usually available within 1 day.
More About Lung Scans
Factors that can interfere with your test and the accuracy of the results include:
- Pregnancy. A lung scan is not usually done during pregnancy because the radiation could damage the developing baby (fetus).
- The inability to remain still during the test.
- The inability to breathe through the mask or tube.
- Medical conditions, such as pulmonary edema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), that involve the lungs or heart.
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