Deep Vein Thrombosis Presenting on Pulmonary Ventilation and Perfusion Scintigraphy

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A 52-year-old woman presenting with dyspnea was referred for a ventilation and perfusion scan (VQ). VQ images (with 99mTc-DTPA [diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid aerosol] and 99mTc-MAA [macroaggregated albumin]) initially appeared normal; however, count rates on perfusion images were similar to ventilation images, implying little 99mTc-MAA had reached the lungs. Spot images of the injected extremity demonstrated focal 99mTc-MAA accumulation worrisome for a venous thrombus, subsequently confirmed by Doppler ultrasound. Careful attention to relative radiotracer count rates on VQ scans is crucial to ensure diagnostic utility. In addition, abnormal low perfusion radiotracer counts may unveil other pathology with important clinical implications.

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