March 25, 2020

COVID-19: ACR Statement on Nuclear Medicine Ventilation Scans

The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) recommends that, due to the possible risk of exposure to COVID-19 to patients and nuclear medicine technologists, nuclear medicine departments consider not performing ventilation scans for the time being.

Even without the ventilation scan, the lung perfusion scan can provide helpful information to the referring physician.

If the lung perfusion scan is normal or has a low-probability appearance for pulmonary embolism, then a ventilation lung scan is not necessary. 

If the lung perfusion scan has a high-probability appearance in the setting of a normal chest radiograph, that also provides helpful information.

If the ventilation scan is felt to be clinically necessary, then it is recommended to discuss the possible risk of the patient having COVID-19 with the referring clinician and to place performing the ventilation scan in the context of hospital/department COVID-19 policies and procedures.

In this situation, if feasible, having a documented negative COVID test before proceeding to the ventilation scan should be considered.