A stripe sign on 99mTc-Technegas SPECT in pulmonary emphysema

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Abstract

Objective

By focusing on a stripe sign (interposed preserved radioactivity between central defects and pleural surface of the lung), the cross-sectional ventilation difference between the central and peripheral lung in pulmonary emphysema was evaluated on 99mTc-Technegas SPECT, and compared with other forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods

Technegas and perfusion SPECT were performed in 47 patients with relatively advanced emphysema, 15 patients with other forms of COPD without alveolar destruction and six controls. The presence or absence of a stripe sign was evaluated at upper, middle and lower lung zones on both SPECT. At stripe sign-positive lung zones on Technegas SPECT in pulmonary emphysema, the pattern of low attenuation areas (LAAs) distribution on X-ray CT was also evaluated.

Results

Of the total of 282 lung zones in patients with emphysema, a stripe sign was positive on Technegas SPECT at 153 (54.2%) zones in 27 (57.4%) patients, although less frequently positive on perfusion SPECT at 166 (58.8%) zones in 30 (63.8%) patients. This sign was negative on Technegas SPECT throughout the stripe sign-negative zones on perfusion SPECT. Throughout the lung zones in controls and patients with other forms of COPD, this sign was negative both on Technegas and perfusion SPECT. On X-ray CT, 124 (81%) of 153 stripe-positive lung zones on Technegas SPECT in pulmonary emphysema showed central lung-dominant LAA.

Conclusion

In contrast to other forms of COPD, a stripe sign was frequently positive on Technegas SPECT in relatively advanced emphysema, with central-lung dominant LAA on X-ray CT. Relative preservation of peripheral lung ventilation seems to be a characteristic feature of this disease, indicating a lower susceptibility of the peripheral lung for alveolar destruction.

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