Invented and first approved for clinical use in Australia 36 years ago, Technegas is the technology that enabled ventilation scintigraphy with 99mTc-labeled carbon nanoparticles (99mTc-CNP). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has considered this technology for more than 30 years but only now is getting close to approving it. Meanwhile, more than 4.4 million patients benefited from this technology in 64 countries worldwide. The primary application of 99mTc-CNP ventilation imaging is the diagnostic evaluation for suspicion of pulmonary embolism using ventilation-perfusion quotient (V/Q) imaging. Because of 99mTc-CNP's long pulmonary residence, tomographic imaging emerged as the preferred V/Q methodology. The FDA-approved ventilation imaging agents are primarily suitable for planar imaging, which is less sensitive. After the FDA approval of Technegas, the US practice will likely shift to tomographic V/Q. The 99mTc-CNP use is of particular interest in the COVID-19 pandemic because it offers an option of a dry radioaerosol that takes approximately only 3 to 5 tidal breaths, allowing the shortest exposure to and contact with possibly infected patients. Indeed, countries where 99mTc-CNP was approved for clinical use continued using it throughout the COVID-19 pandemic without known negative viral transmission consequences. Conversely, the ventilation imaging was halted in most US facilities from the beginning of the pandemic. This review is intended to familiarize the US clinical nuclear medicine community with the basic science of 99mTc-CNP ventilation imaging and its clinical applications, including common artifacts and interpretation criteria for tomographic V/Q imaging for pulmonary embolism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging