The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging has issued a statement about the risks of performing ventilation/perfusion lung scans when there is a risk that the patient may have COVID-19.

As we all do our best to avoid the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to provide the best care for our patients, we would like to respond to concerns regarding ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) lung scans and the risk inherent in the V/Q scan for spread of COVID-19 to patients and staff alike.

Because many ventilation systems are difficult to completely disinfect and because there are still unknowns about the transmissibility of COVID-19, some institutions have elected to eliminate entirely the ventilation portion of the V/Q study. When lung perfusion images show no evidence of pulmonary thromboembolism, it essentially rules out acute pulmonary embolism, and no further studies are needed. While it is recognized that not performing paired ventilation images will eliminate important information about airway physiology, it is felt by some to be the most judicious action until the COVID-19 pandemic can be better understood.  

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