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November 24, 1978

Xenon Ventilation-Perfusion Lung Scans: The Early Diagnosis of Inhalation Injury

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Nuclear Medicine (Drs Schall and Carr) and Bothin Burn Center and Department of Plastic Surgery (Drs McDonald and Capozzi), St Francis Memorial Hospital, San Francisco.

JAMA. 1978;240(22):2441-2445. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290220053016

The use of xenon Xe 133 ventilation-perfusion lung scans for the early diagnosis of inhalation injury was evaluated in 67 patients with acute thermal burns. Study results were interpreted as normal if there was complete pulmonary clearance of the radioactive gas by 150 seconds. Thirty-two scans were normal, 32 abnormal, and three technically inadequate. There were three true false-positive study results and one false-negative study result. Good correlation was found between the scan results and various historical, physical, and laboratory values currently used to evaluate inhalation injury. The scans appeared to be the most sensitive method for the detection of early involvement, often being abnormal several days before the chest roentgenogram. Xenon lung scanning is a safe, easy, accurate, and sensitive method for the early diagnosis of inhalation injury and has important therapeutic and prognostic implications as well.

(JAMA 240:2441-2445, 1978)