The aim was to compare ventilation/perfusion SPECT lung scintigraphy (V/Q-SPECT) and computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) in patients with suspicion of pulmonary embolism (PE).
This prospectively designed study included 53 patients with intermediate or high clinical probability of PE. A V/Q-SPECT and CTPA was performed on all patients. The V/Q-SPECT was interpreted according to the European Association of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (EANMMI) guidelines. CTPA was reported as positive, negative, or indeterminate.
CTPA was positive in 22 cases, negative in 28, and indeterminate in 3. V/Q-SPECT was positive in 27 cases, negative in 24, and non-diagnostic in 2. In the 22 with positive CTPA, V/Q-SPECT was positive in 18, negative in 3, and non-diagnostic in 1. In the 28 with negative CTPA, V/Q-SPECT was positive in 8, negative in 19, and non-diagnostic in 1. In the 3 with indeterminate CTPA, V/Q-SPECT was positive in 1 and negative in 2. In the 2 non-diagnostic cases V/Q-SPECT, CTPA was positive in 1 and negative in one. In the 10 high clinical probabilities, CTPA and V/Q-SPECT were positive in 7, negative in 2, and in 1, CTPA was positive and V/Q-SPECT negative. In the 38 intermediate probability group, CTPA and V/Q-SPECT were positive in 11, negative in 17, with CTPA negative and V/Q-SPECT positive in 8, and in 2 CTPA was positive and V/Q-SPECT negative. The results show that V/Q-SPECT detected PE in 5 patients more than CTPA.
Our results show a 77% concordance of both techniques. Overall V/Q-SPECT detected PE in 18% more patients than CTPA in the intermediate group. Both techniques have a complementary role when a diagnosis cannot be made with one of them.