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Clinical Investigations: THE PULMONARY LAB |

Sensitivity and Specificity of Radioisotope Right-Left Shunt Measurements and Pulse Oximetry for the Early Detection of Pulmonary Arteriovenous Malformations*

Richard D. Thompson, MBBS; James Jackson, MD; A. Michael Peters, MD; Caroline J. Doré, BSc; J. Michael B. Hughes, MD
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*From the Departments of Respiratory Medicine (Drs. Thompson and Hughes), Imaging (Dr. Jackson), Nuclear Medicine (Dr. Peters), and Medical Statistics and Evaluation (Ms. Doré), Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London, W12 0NN, United Kingdom.



Chest. 1999;115(1):109-113. doi:10.1378/chest.115.1.109
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Study objectives: To assess the effectiveness of pulse oximetry and radioisotope measurement of right-to-left (R-L) shunt for the early detection of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations (PAVMs) in patients with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT).

Design: Patients with HHT had serial measurements of the following: (1) arterial oxygen saturation (Sao2) by pulse oximetry in erect and supine positions, and on maximal exercise using cycle ergometry; (2) quantitative radioisotope measurements of R-L shunt using IV 99mTc-labeled macroaggregates of albumin; and (3) routine pulmonary function. After percutaneous transcatheter embolization of all PAVMs with feeding vessel diameters > 3 mm, residual PAVMs were assessed with selective digital subtraction pulmonary angiography. Using postembolization angiography as the “gold standard,” Sao2 and radioisotope shunt measurements after embolization were analyzed retrospectively using logistic regression to assess the ability of each test to predict for the presence of residual PAVMs.

Results: Of the 66 patients included, 40 had small PAVMs remaining postembolization. Using univariate logistic regression, radioisotope shunt and erect saturation showed a significant relationship with the presence of residual PAVMs (p = 0.001, 0.005, respectively). Erect Sao2≤ 96% had 73% sensitivity and 35% specificity for detecting PAVMs. Radioisotope shunt >3.5% of cardiac output had 87% sensitivity and 61% specificity for detecting PAVMs.

Conclusions: These results confirm that noninvasive measurements are useful in the screening of patients with HHT for the presence of PAVMs without need for angiography and its associated risks, and that radionuclide scanning is better than pulse oximetry.

Abbreviations: CE = contrast echocardiography; HHT = hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia; PAVM = pulmonary arteriovenous malformation; Sao2 = arterial oxygen saturation; R-L shunt = right to left shunt; 99mTc-MAA = 99mtechnetium-labeled macroaggregates of albumin

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