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J Nucl Med. 1992 May;33(5):676-83.

The anatomy of radioisotope lung scanning.

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Department of Medicine, Charing Cross and Westminister Medical School, London, United Kingdom.


An appreciation of the appearances of segmental and lobar defects on a lung scan is important for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism. The appearances of segmental and lobar ventilation defects of known anatomical location have been examined on 81mKr ventilation scans in normal human subjects, utilizing fibreoptic bronchoscopy to place temporary occlusions under direct vision at the orifices of lobar and segmental bronchi. Scans were obtained in the posterior, posterior-oblique and lateral projections. Anterior views were included if the defects could not be adequately visualized on the other views. The completeness of the occlusion and the site and size of each defect could be confirmed by ventilating the segment itself with 81mKr via the balloon catheter while the occlusion was maintained. Segmental defects located anterior to the hilum of the lung tended to be optimally visualized on the lateral view and defects located posterior to the hilum tended to be optimally visualized on the posterior-oblique view. The size of segmental defects could be underestimated on the lung scan, especially those involving the anterior and lateral basal segments of both lower lobes. Defects involving the medial basal segment of the right lower lobe were undetectable on any view. By implication, the same conclusions apply to 99mTc perfusion scans.

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