Lung Scan

A lung scan is a Nuclear Medicine Scan analysing the airflow and blood flow of the lungs. The test is used to find evidence of blood clots in the lungs – as these can lower oxygen levels, result in shortness-of-breath and even be fatal if left untreated.


  • For a lung scan there are no special requirements other than having a recent chest x-ray examination.
  • Patients should wear loose comfortable clothes (no zippers, buttons, jewellery or metallic accessories).
  • Patients should arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete paperwork
  • Patients must bring their request/referral form on the day (or check that their request/referral is at the practice)
  • Notify Lakes Radiology team of any allergies, existing medications and if there is a chance you could be pregnant or breastfeeding.


  • A medical practitioner/technician will talk to you prior to the test and will provide ample opportunity to answer questions you may have at this time.
  • A cannula will be inserted into the arm so that the radiopharmaceutical can be injected.
  • The patient will be provided with a nebuliser to breath in a mist like substance for a few minutes.
  • The patient will lie very still so that images of lungs will be taken at multiple angles by a gamma camera.
  • During the procedure the patient must remain still and breathe quietly to ensure image quality.
  • Following the first set of images taken, the medical practitioner/technician will inject a different radiopharmaceutical to the patient’s arm to allow a second set of images to be taken.
  • At the completion of the study, the radiologist will check the quality of the images to ensure optimal diagnostic study has been performed.
  • The patient should contact their referring doctor for the result of the test.

Risks or Side Effects

  • There is minimal risk in having a lung scan.
  • During the examination the amount of radiation the patient is exposed to is similar to that received during a regular diagnostic x-ray.
  • There is a small risk of allergic reaction, however these are rare and usually minor.
  • The patient should advise Lakes Radiology if they have had a previous allergic reaction to medication prior to the administration of the radiopharmaceutical and nebulizer.
  • If the patient is pregnant, the test can still be safely performed following consultation with the medical practitioner/technician performing the test.   The technician will use a reduced dose of radioactive tracer so that it will not affect the developing foetus.
  • If the patient is breastfeeding, the technician may advise the patient to cease breastfeeding for 24 hours following the scan and expressed milk should be discarded during this period.

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