How To Prepare
Before your lung scan, tell your doctor if:
- You are or might be pregnant.
- You are breastfeeding. The radioactive tracer used in this test can get into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed your baby for 1 or 2 days after this test. During this time, you can give your baby breast milk you stored before the test, or you can give formula. Don't use the breast milk you pump for the 1 or 2 days after the test. Throw it out.
A chest X-ray is usually done the same day, either before or after the lung scan.
You may be asked to sign a consent form.
Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
You will need to take off any jewelry that might interfere with the scan. You may need to take off all or most of your clothes, depending on which area is being examined. You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.
During the scan, you might lie on your back with the scanning camera over or under your chest. Or you might sit with the camera next to your chest. The camera does not produce any radiation.
For the ventilation scan, a mask will be placed over your mouth and nose. Or you may have a nose clip on your nose and a tube in your mouth that you use for breathing. You will take a deep breath and hold it.
The camera will take pictures as the tracer moves through your lungs.
You may be asked to breathe the gas in and out through your mouth for several minutes. You may then be asked to hold your breath for short periods (about 10 seconds) and to change positions. This is done so your lungs can be viewed from other angles. The camera may move to take pictures from different angles. You need to stay very still during the scans to avoid blurring the pictures.