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Perfusion lung scanning: differentiation of primary from thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension.

Of eight patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension, final diagnosis established by autopsy or angiography, four had primary hypertension and four hypertension from thromboembolism. The perfusion lung scan was distinctly different in the two groups. The lung scan in primary pulmonary hypertension was associated with nonsegmental, patchy defects of perfusion, while in thromboembolic hypertensives it was characterized by segmental and/or lobar defects of perfusion with or without subsegmental defects. The perfusion lung scan is a valuable, noninvasive study in the evaluation of the patient with pulmonary hypertension of undetermined cause and in the exclusion of occult large-vessel pulmonary thromboembolism.

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