Pulmonary inhalation-perfusion scintigraphy in the evaluation of bronchoscopic treatment of bronchopleural fistula

Abstract Objective: To evaluate the use of pulmonary inhalation-perfusion scintigraphy as an alternative method of investigation and follow-up in patients with bronchopleural fistula (BPF). Materials and Methods: Nine patients with BPFs were treated through the off-label use of a transcatheter atrial septal defect occluder, placed endoscopically, and were followed with pulmonary inhalation-perfusion scintigraphy, involving inhalation, via a nebulizer, of 900-1300 MBq (25-35 mCi) of technetium-99m-labeled diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid and single-photon emission computed tomography with a dual-head gamma camera. Results: In two cases, there was a residual air leak that was not identified by bronchoscopy or the methylene blue test but was detected only by pulmonary inhalation-perfusion scintigraphy. Those results correlated with the evolution of the patients, both of whom showed late signs of air leak, which confirmed the scintigraphy findings. In the patients with complete resolution of symptoms and fistula closure seen on bronchoscopy, the scintigraphy was completely negative. In cases of failure to close the BPF, the scintigraphy confirmed the persistence of the air leak. In two patients, scintigraphy was the only method to show residual BPF, the fistula no longer being seen on bronchoscopy. Conclusion: We found pulmonary inhalation-perfusion scintigraphy to be a useful tool for identifying a residual BPF, as well as being an alternative method of investigating BPFs and of monitoring the affected patients.