Pulmonary ventilation/perfusion single photon emission tomography - Initial experience of a Nuclear Medicine Department

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Introduction: Lung ventilation/perfusion scintigraphy with planar images (V/QS-planar) is very useful for the diagnosis and follow-up of pulmonary thromboembolism (PTE). Acquiring tomographic images (V/QS-SPECT) is a recent development with potential to increase the technique's accuracy. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the added benefits of V/QS-SPECT studies as opposed to traditional planar imaging. Patients and methods: We prospectively revised 53 V/QS-planar and V/QS-SPECT exams, performed according to the European Association of Nuclear Medicine guidelines. We evaluated the exams independently, by consensus of two Nuclear Medicine physicians. For both methods, we gave each lung a score expressing the dimension and extension of perfusion defects with normal ventilation. For each lung, we compared the scores with the paired Wilcoxon test, estimating the 95% confidence interval (95CI) for the respective difference. Results: We performed V/QS-SPECT exams without technical difficulties. The paired Wilcoxon test estimated the score difference to be -0.75 (95CI of -1.0 to -0.5; p-value = 9.6 × 10-7), expressing a statistically significant difference of about 1 subsegmental defect between both methods, with V/QS-SPECT detecting more defects. Discussion: The results demonstrate that V/QS-SPECT identifies a slightly larger number of perfusion defects than V/QS-planar, suggesting a higher sensitivity of this technique. However, more studies are necessary to evaluate the clinical meaning of this fact. Conclusion: V/QS-SPECT demonstrates a higher capability to identify perfusion defects. This method looks promising, allowing for a greater role of this exam in pulmonary thromboembolism diagnosis and follow-up.




Santos, J. G., Carmona, S., Sequeira, J. A., Prata, A., & Santos, A. I. (2016). Pulmonary ventilation/perfusion single photon emission tomography - Initial experience of a Nuclear Medicine Department. Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia , 22(1), 27–33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rppnen.2015.06.011

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