Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Clearing the way for detecting pulmonary embolism

Date:
December 1, 2009
Source:
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Summary:
A form of molecular imaging called single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), when combined with low-dose CT, may provide an accurate diagnosis for pulmonary embolism.

When it comes to diagnosing pulmonary embolism -- a sudden blockage in the lung artery that could be deadly if not treated -- which technique is the most effective? Research published in the December issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine (JNM) suggests that a form of molecular imaging called single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), when combined with low-dose CT, may provide an accurate diagnosis -- allowing physicians to improve care for patients suffering from this often critical condition by using a diagnostic test that does not expose the patient to a great deal of radiation.

Related Articles


Pulmonary embolism is caused when a blood clot travels to a person's lungs from another location in the body, usually the legs. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing up blood. Anyone, including people who are otherwise healthy, can develop a blood clot and subsequent pulmonary embolism. Additionally, some patients show no symptoms, making pulmonary embolism particularly difficult to diagnosis. If left untreated, the mortality rate for patients with pulmonary embolism is approximately 30%. The risk of death can be reduced, however, with anti-clotting medications.

"Pulmonary embolism is very difficult to diagnose clinically," said J. Anthony Parker, M.D., Ph.D., a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researcher who authored an invited perspective on the study in JNM. "Untreated, it has a high mortality rate. However, the treatment for pulmonary embolism also has serious side effects. As such, it is important not to over-treat pulmonary embolism. More accurate diagnosis, including both improved sensitivity and specificity, should result in better patient outcomes."

In the JNM study, titled "Detection of Pulmonary Embolism with Combined Ventilation-Perfusion SPECT and Low-Dose CT: Head-to-Head Comparison with Multidetector CT Angiography," researchers in Denmark tested the diagnostic accuracy of SPECT/CT imaging for pulmonary embolism against that of multidetector CT angiography (MDCT) alone, which is the current first-line imaging technique for diagnosing pulmonary embolism. Their study found that SPECT plus low-dose CT had a sensitivity of 97% and a specificity of 100%, whereas MDCT alone had a sensitivity of 68% and a specificity of 100%. Having an effective technique for diagnosing pulmonary embolism leads to more rapid and successful diagnosis.

In a related article also published in this month's JNM, researchers discuss the role of SPECT in imaging pulmonary embolism and how the technology has advanced. The authors of "SPECT in Acute Pulmonary Embolism" write that there is renewed interest in this modality as the initial imaging test for pulmonary embolism as a result of improved instrumentation and improved interpretation of lung scans, as well as concerns about high radiation exposure from CT angiography, particularly to the female breast. The article supports the conclusions found by the researchers in Denmark -- SPECT/CT imaging may considerably improve the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism. The article also suggests that SPECT might be useful for follow-up examinations for determining therapy's response.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society of Nuclear Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gutte et al. Detection of Pulmonary Embolism with Combined Ventilation-Perfusion SPECT and Low-Dose CT: Head-to-Head Comparison with Multidetector CT Angiography. Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 2009; 50 (12): 1987 DOI: 10.2967/jnumed.108.061606

Cite This Page:

Society of Nuclear Medicine. "Clearing the way for detecting pulmonary embolism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201102330.htm>.
Society of Nuclear Medicine. (2009, December 1). Clearing the way for detecting pulmonary embolism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201102330.htm
Society of Nuclear Medicine. "Clearing the way for detecting pulmonary embolism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201102330.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins