Current Status of Ventilation-Perfusion Scintigraphy for Suspected Pulmonary Embolism

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2017 Mar;208(3):489-494. doi: 10.2214/AJR.16.17195. Epub 2017 Jan 17.


Objective: The purpose of this article is to outline recent progress made in ventilation-perfusion (V/Q) scintigraphy imaging techniques and the interpretation systems used for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE). Various state-of-the-art approaches that can be selected according to the needs dictated by the medical practice environment and specific patient groups are presented.

Conclusion: Although advances in tomographic imaging have certainly improved the sensitivity of V/Q scans for the diagnosis of PE, they may lead to overdiagnosis by revealing small and clinically insignificant PEs.

Keywords: V/Q reporting; pulmonary embolism; pulmonary embolism overdiagnosis; pulmonary embolism overtreatment; pulmonary embolism tomographic imaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography Computed Tomography / methods*
  • Technetium Tc 99m Aggregated Albumin*
  • Ventilation-Perfusion Ratio*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium Tc 99m Aggregated Albumin