Experience with a Perfusion-Only Screening Protocol for Evaluation of Pulmonary Embolism During the COVID-19 Pandemic Surge

Arun Kumar, Renee M. Moadel, Linda B. Haramati, Kenny Ye, Leonard M. Freeman, Lionel S. Zuckier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate a pulmonary embolism (PE) perfusion-only screening (POS) protocol introduced during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic surge. Subjects without dense parenchymal lung opacities were studied; those with less than 1 segmental perfusion defect were considered to have no PE, whereas those exhibiting 1 or more defects were indeterminate, mandating additional examinations to determine the final diagnosis. Methods: We analyzed demographic information, clinical data, imaging findings, and follow-up data from the electronic records of COVID-19 patients who underwent lung scintigraphy during the 60-d study period. Results: In total, 53 studies were performed on 17 COVID-19–positive and 36 COVID-19–negative patients. The POS protocol efficiently excluded PE in 79% of cases; the remaining 21%, indeterminate for PE, were generally referred for alternative testing or were directly anticoagulated. In patients with negative POS results, there was a very low mortality before hospital discharge (1/42) and normal results on follow-up studies (6/6). Conclusion: The POS protocol, implemented during the COVID-19 surge, efficiently and safely excluded PE in 79% of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-601
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Volume63
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Lung scintigraphy
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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