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Technetium tc-99m pentetate, diagnostic, aerosol, per study dose, up to 75 millicuries

HCPCS code

Name of the Procedure:

Common Name: Technetium Tc-99m Pentetate Scan
Medical Term: Diagnostic Aerosol Study with Technetium Tc-99m Pentetate


A diagnostic test that uses a small amount of a radioactive substance called Technetium Tc-99m Pentetate, delivered in aerosol form, to create images of the respiratory system. This procedure helps doctors diagnose various lung conditions by examining how the lungs take up and distribute the radioactive aerosol.


This procedure helps diagnose and assess lung conditions such as pulmonary embolism, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other respiratory disorders. The main goal is to visualize the structure and function of the lungs to provide accurate diagnoses and inform appropriate treatment plans.


  • Symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or unexplained coughing.
  • Suspected pulmonary embolism or blood clots in the lungs.
  • Evaluation of lung conditions like COPD, asthma, or other restrictive or obstructive lung diseases.
  • Pre-surgical assessment of lung function.


  • No specific fasting requirements.
  • Patients may need to avoid certain medications as per their doctor's instructions.
  • Recent chest X-rays or other pulmonary function tests may be reviewed beforehand.

Procedure Description

  1. The patient is seated comfortably, and a mask or mouthpiece attached to an aerosol delivery system is placed over their mouth and nose.
  2. The patient breathes in the Technetium Tc-99m Pentetate aerosol deeply and evenly.
  3. The process takes approximately 5-10 minutes, ensuring adequate distribution of the radioactive substance within the lungs.
  4. Following inhalation, the patient undergoes imaging using a gamma camera to capture detailed images of the lung's structure and function.
  5. The imaging process may take an additional 20-30 minutes.


The entire procedure typically takes about 30-40 minutes, including preparation and imaging.


This procedure is performed in a hospital radiology department or an outpatient diagnostic imaging center.


  • A radiologist or nuclear medicine specialist who interprets the images.
  • A radiology technologist who operates the equipment and assists the patient during the procedure.
  • Nursing staff, if necessary, to provide additional support.

Risks and Complications

  • Minimal exposure to radiation, considered safe for most patients.
  • Rare allergic reactions to the radioactive substance.
  • Mild discomfort from wearing the mask or mouthpiece.


  • Provides detailed images of the lung’s structure and function.
  • Helps diagnose serious conditions like pulmonary embolism quickly.
  • Non-invasive and relatively quick procedure with minimal discomfort.


  • Patients can typically resume normal activities immediately.
  • Drinking fluids may help flush the radioactive material from the body faster.
  • Follow-up appointments may be scheduled to discuss results and further treatment.


  • Other imaging techniques such as CT scans or MRI.
  • Ventilation-perfusion (V/Q) scans without aerosol delivery.
  • Pulmonary function tests for assessing lung capacity and function.

Patient Experience

  • The patient may feel a slight discomfort from the mask or mouthpiece but should not experience pain.
  • Breathing in the aerosol is similar to using an inhaler or nebulizer treatment.
  • The imaging process is painless, requiring the patient to remain still for clear images.
  • Any discomfort or concerns can be managed with the help of the attending technologist or nurse.

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