Analysis: Positive SPECT V/Q Results Decreased Annually for Pulmonary Embolism

This study group sought to conduct a trend analysis of the evolution of pulmonary embolism diagnosis with SPECT ventilation/perfusion (SPECT V/Q) imaging. The authors evaluated all SPECT V/Q scans of suspected pulmonary embolism in a single center between 2011 and 2016. A total of 696 patients were included in the analysis.  The researchers reported an average 16% (95% CI, 10% to 22%) annual reduction in the proportion of positive SPECT V/Q results. Positive SPECT V/Q percentage was 25.3% between 2011 and 2013 and declined to 16.3% between 2014 and 2016 (P<.0001). “A continuous decrease in the annual proportion of positive SPECT V/Q results was mainly observed while maintaining the safety of the test to rule out pulmonary embolism,” the researchers concluded. “Explanatory factors include the introduction of a combined SPECT/CT scan, increased experience and familiarity with the test, and an increased awareness of the risks and consequences of overdiagnosing pulmonary embolism.”

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