False-Positive Ventilation-Perfusion Studies Due to Nonembolic Pulmonary Artery Compromise

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Ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) scans are highly sensitive in detecting clinically significant pulmonary embolisms; however, V/Q mismatches are not specific to pulmonary embolism alone, and other etiologies can cause false-positive results. We present 3 cases where the pulmonary vasculature was compromised, from either intraluminal narrowing or external compression, with resultant mismatches. This raises the importance of interpreting V/Q scan results in conjunction with a thorough medical/surgical history and careful analysis of the chest radiograph.

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