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February 1989

Clinical Outcome of Patients With a 'Low Probability' of Pulmonary Embolism on Ventilation-Perfusion Lung Scan

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Nuclear Medicine, University of Iowa College of Medicine and Nuclear Medicine Section, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Iowa City (Dr Kahn); Chicago Medical School, University of Health Sciences (Drs Bushnell and Dean); and the Department of Radiology, Nuclear Medicine Division, University of Wisconsin Clinical Science Center, Madison (Dr Perlman).

Arch Intern Med. 1989;149(2):377-379. doi:10.1001/archinte.1989.00390020091019

• Lung ventilation and perfusion (V/Q) scintigraphy is usually indicated when pulmonary embolism (PE) is a suspected diagnosis. Typically, V/Q scintigraphic interpretation is reported as a "normal," "low," "intermediate," or "high probability" of PE. Although a "low probability" interpretation does not exclude the diagnosis of PE, it significantly reduces the likelihood. We retrospectively analyzed up to one year of follow-up in 90 patients who were clinically suspected of having PE, but in whom V/Q scintigraphy implied a low probability of PE. None of the 90 patients demonstrated clinical evidence of PE subsequent to the V/Q scan. Our findings suggest that significant pulmonary embolism is uncommon and that the clinical course appears to be predictable in patients with a low probability V/Q scan.

(Arch Intern Med 1989;149:377-379)

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