VQ Lung Scan Information Sheet

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What is a V/Q Lung Scan?

A V/Q lung scan is used to image the air flow and blood flow into the lungs. The scan is generally used to detect the presence of blood clots in the lungs.

What preparation is required?

There is no specific preparation for this examination; you may continue your routine medications and there is no restriction on eating or drinking.

It is preferable if you have had a chest x-ray prior to the VQ lung scan. If you have had an x-ray outside The Canberra Hospital, please bring it with you.

What happens during the test?

There are two parts to every V/Q Lung Scan.

PART 1: You will be asked to inhale a radioactive tracer in the form of gas. We will take pictures immediately afterward to image the air flow in the lungs.

PART 2: You will be given a small injection of a radioactive tracer, into a vein in your arm. We will then repeat the pictures and image the blood flow into the lungs.

Are there any side effects?

There are no side effects from the tracer injection, and no restrictions following the test. You will be able to continue with your usual daily activities. The amount of radiation used is quite small.

How long will the test take?

Please allow at least 45min for the whole test.

Can I have this test while I am pregnant or breast feeding?

Your doctors may have requested that you undergo this examination while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your doctors will have considered and discussed the risks and benefits of having the scan to the health of both you and your baby.

As part of the procedure you will be given the opportunity to further discuss any concerns that you may have including the potential risks and benefits with one of our staff members. This examination may have been deemed suitable for you to undergo while you are breastfeeding. You will need to cease breastfeeding for 13 hours following the administration of the radiotracer. It is advised that you express and discard your breast milk during this period. You may resume routine breast feeding after 13 hours. Further information may be obtained from the staff member performing your scan.


If you are / could be pregnant OR are breast-feeding please call us to discuss your options.

It is important to bring any previous test results and your Medicare card with you.

Please feel free to call us on 6244 2439 if you have any questions or to reschedule.


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