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A ventilation/perfusion scan is a nuclear medicine test that is used to check airflow and blood flow to your child's lungs.
How Boston Children's Hospital approaches ventilation/perfusion scans
The Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging program at Boston Children's is committed to providing a safe, comfortable and child-friendly atmosphere with:
A ventilation/perfusion scan is a diagnostic nuclear medicine test that is used to evaluate the circulation of air and blood within your child's lungs. The ventilation part of the test looks at the ability of air to reach all parts of the lungs, while the perfusion part evaluates how well the blood circulates within the lungs.
During the ventilation part of the test, a mask attached to a bag filled with oxygen and a radiopharmaceutical gas, called Xenon-133, will be placed over your child's nose and mouth. Your child will be asked to breathe normally into the bag.
During the perfusion part of the test, a radiopharmaceutical called Technetium-99m MAA will be injected in one of your child's veins. A special camera, called a gamma camera, is used to take pictures of the lungs after the radiopharmaceutical has been injected.
A ventilation/perfusion scan can help:
There is no special preparation needed for this test.
When you arrive, please go to the Nuclear Medicine check-in desk on the second floor of the main hospital. A clinical intake coordinator will check in your child and verify her registration information.
You will be greeted by one of our nuclear medicine technologists who will explain to you and your child what will happen during the examination. The examination is done in two parts:
The placement of the mask over the mouth and nose may cause some anxiety or discomfort, but will not harm your child.
Your child may experience some discomfort associated with the insertion of the intravenous needle. The needle used for the procedure is small. Once the radiopharmaceutical is injected, the needle is withdrawn and a bandaid is placed over the site of the injection. The area where the injection was given may be a little sore.
Although the gamma camera may appear large and intimidating, it does not touch your child.
We are committed to ensuring that your child receives the smallest radiation dose needed to obtain the desired result.
Once the scan is complete, the images will be evaluated for quality. If the scan is adequate, your child will be free to leave and resume normal activity.
One of the Boston Children's nuclear medicine physicians will review your child's images and create a report of the findings and diagnosis.
The nuclear medicine physician will provide a report to the doctor who ordered your child's ventilation/perfusion scan. Your child's doctor will then discuss the results with you.
Department of Radiology
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