VQ Scan

Picture this….a machine kind of like an MRI, but a cross-section of one. Basically, a large donut encircling a narrow table. On the table is a little baby, in a white hospital gown, wrapped in a sheet and a towel, strapped to the table with three wide black straps. You’ll have to imagine how calm and peaceful Charlotte was because Mommy forgot the camera (bad Mommy). This is the VQ scan procedure in the Nuclear Medicine department at Children’s.

What is a VQ Scan? From the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: “The ventilation-perfusion scan is a nuclear scan so named because it studies both airflow (ventilation) and blood flow (perfusion) in the lungs. The initials V-Q are used in mathematical equations that calculate airflow and blood flow.”

Here’s how it went—we waited for nearly an hour because somehow our appointment never got entered into the computer. Never mind that Nuclear Medicine knew we were coming and the folks were waiting for us—until it was in the computer, the reception area couldn’t call them or send us up. So, this is why Dr. Pophal gave me the orders—reception seems to be notorious for losing orders. I forgot the orders along with the camera. Mom is notorious for being a ditz these days.

Anyway…we finally got escorted to Nuclear Medicine. I left the room while Charlotte was injected with the isotope medicine that allows the doctors to see blood flow through the video x-ray. Since she’s so tiny, they called the NICU IV team to inject her. They had to do it twice because the vein in her left foot collapsed on the first stick.

So, by the time I got back in the room, she was peacefully lying strapped to the table. Not struggling against the restraints at all. Amazing.

For the next 25 minutes or so the big donut machine closed in on Charlotte’s little body and rotated around to get pictures from all angles of her little lungs. I pet Charlotte’s head and talked to her. She actually fell asleep!! Maybe the loud noises from the machine helped or maybe being there at naptime was a good thing.

No results on the spot so we’ll have to wait until the Cardiac Team meets in conference on Monday to learn what’s next.

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