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.

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 September 15, 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 September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 12, 2014) Hundreds of children in several states have been stricken by a serious respiratory illness that is spreading across the U.S. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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