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VQ Scan

I'm being sent for an urgent VQ scan - saw my consultant yesterday and I'm having the scan on Monday.

Can someone tell me what this is like and how much noise/equipment/machinery is involved please? I'm generally OK with medical stuff as I've had so much done I've got used to it, but I did have an MRI scan not long ago (not connected to asthma) and it really freaked me out to the extent my neurologist got cross because the images weren't clear enough - I found the noise and being enclosed really difficult and couldn't stop shaking and I don't want the same to happen this time.

7 Replies

Ratty,had a lot also,can u listen to your music.

think the vq is to do with throat and swollowing? I think.

you could ring up if have some one with you,

when my son was in a scanner ,I held his hand all the time as was popping out of scanner.

Good luck hope all goes well for you love Glynis xxx


Hi Ratty

I had a VQ scan last year. It was nowhere near as 'scary' as it sounds!

It's made up of 2 parts; ventilation and perfusion.

The ventilation (V) first part looks at the air supply to your lungs. I was sat upright in a special chair and had to breathe in a mixture of oxygen and radioactive dye through a face mask, exactly the same as an oxygen mask. I think I had a clip on my nose too, and I was given the mask to hold so I had control of it. It was just like breathing in oxygen and only lasts a few minutes. There was a radiographer (I think) stood beside me the whole process adjusting my chair to enable pictures to be taken from different angles, telling me when to breathe in using the mouthpiece, and offering reassurance.

The perfusion (Q) part of the scan looks at blood supply to the lungs. Before going into the VQ scan room I was intravenously injected with a small amount of radioactive material, which shows up on the pictures being taken.

The whole thing lasted less than 30 minutes. I don't remember there being much noise at all, certainly nothing like an MRI!

I remember being told something like I couldn't handle children for 24 hours (?) after the scan, I didn't pay much attention to this as I was an inpatient and wouldn't be having an contact with kids. I was also advised to drink more water than usual afterwards just to help flush the radioactive material out of my system.

Hope it goes well!

Dawn x


Thank both :)

I got a letter about it today explaining it in more detail which is reassuring (as well as a little scary). I think it's the whole 'nuclear medicine' thing that makes it sound worse than it is. :S


if its like what my step-dad got (to check for leukemia if any medically people know) then you cant go near kids or pregnant people coz ur radioactive still and it could do more damage in yound/developing people!

ps good luck, im sure itll be fine!


Backawayslow, I don't know what type of scan your dad had so can't comment.


I can't find any information or patient leaflet that says handling children after a VQ scan is bad for them.

Use of the word 'nuclear' or 'radioactivity' in medicine has the same effect as the word 'steroid'. It worries if you don't know anything about it. In asthma, you learn that the steroids used will not give you muscles like a weight-lifter. So too with nuclear medicine, the type of radioactivity used has an extremely short half life (remember your school physics?) so you will not glow in the dark, neither will you harm your nearest and dearest or make them radioactive too.

GrannyMo xx

PS I've a close friend who confided that she almost put the steroid eye-drops she got after a cataract op, straight in the bin without using them, as she didn't want to have big muscles. Her husband put her right. LOL


Shame - I was looking forward to giving off a green glow!


hi ratty have had a couple of these and the worst part is when the dye goes in to the vein you get a warm sensation down below but it doesn't hurt and machine is rather like a polo and i had scan to check for PE. only other horrid part is they sometimes ask you to drink an anacead flavour drink prior to scan.


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