SNMMI updates ventilation study guidance

By Rebekah Moan, AuntMinnie.com contributing writer

September 8, 2020 -- The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) has updated its statement regarding the use of ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) lung studies during the COVID-19 pandemic to recognize that sometimes these studies are clinically necessary.

Back in March, many facilities opted not to perform ventilation studies due to the risk of spreading COVID-19. However, the pandemic has evolved differently throughout the world. In some places, it's less risky to perform a ventilation study, which is useful in diagnosing lung disease, including vascular and airway disease.

When considering a ventilation study, the SNMMI recommends first adhering to local and institutional COVID-19 policies and procedures for aerosol-generating and nonaerosolizing procedures. The SNMMI also recommends the following when performing a V/Q study:

  • In general, a patient should have a negative COVID-19 test.
  • Technologists should wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Evaluate airflow in the ventilation study room.
  • Determine the availability and capacity to administer ventilation agents such as technetium-99m-DTPA and xenon-133 gas.
  • Use local infection control groups to evaluate facilities, equipment, and staff PPE.
  • Look at each case independently to determine whether to perform a ventilation scan first or a perfusion scan first according to clinical indication and in consultation with a referring physician.

The society said it will continue to provide information on the use of ventilation studies as the pandemic evolves.


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