Regional ventilation and perfusion studies are routinely performed with molecular nitrogen-13 (a short-lived positron emitter), a multicrystal positron camera, and a computer. These studies have the advantage of viewing with equal sensitivity all sections of the lung simultaneously. Nitrogen-13 is less soluble than xenon in blood and therefore allows more accurate ventilation imaging. The short half-life of the radiopharmaceutical allows simultaneous ventilation and perfusion scintigraphy of the lung. Unlike other imaging techniques in which the residual radioactivity persists in the lung for hours, nitrogen-13 is rapidly cleared allowing repetitive imaging. Ventilation and perfusion studies are part of the routine preoperative evaluation for lung cancer resection or for bullectomy in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and for assessment of pulmonary emboli in the presence of chronic obstructive disease.