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Use Lung Scans With Care

Needless screens threaten patients with acute injury

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Needless lung scans may be a threat to people with acute lung injury.

That's the sobering finding of a new study in a recent issue of Critical Care.

It's common practice for people with acute lung injury (ALI) to be injected with a special dye before they have a computerized tomography (CT) scan of their lungs. The dye helps doctors get a better image of the lungs to evaluate their condition.

However, this study says the dye may worsen the condition of people with ALI because it causes the lungs to fill with fluid, making it more difficult for the patients to breathe.

ALI is a serious lung disorder featuring widespread destruction of lung tissue caused by a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream.

The study examined the effects of the dye on 14 people with ALI. They were divided into two groups. People in one group were given a CT scan both before and 30 seconds after being injected with the dye. People in the other group were given a CT scan before and 15 minutes after being injected with the dye.

The study found the dye increased lung tissue volume in both groups, with a larger increase seen after 15 minutes. The lung tissue volume increase is attributed to accumulation of fluid in the lungs caused by the injection of the dye.

The study authors conclude the injection of the dye makes it harder for people with ALI to breathe. They suggest the use of dye be avoided in critically ill people with ALI who are having a thoracic CT scan.

More information

Here's more about lung health and diseases.

SOURCE: BioMed Central, news release, Dec. 16, 2002
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