Lung scintigrams and pulmonary angiograms of 111 patients with suspected pulmonary embolism who had matching perfusion defects and radiographic abnormalities (infiltrate, atelectasis, or effusion) were reviewed. In 14 patients, perfusion defects were substantially smaller than the corresponding radiographic opacity; only 1 (7%) had pulmonary embolism. In 77 the opacities and perfusion defects were of similar size; the abnormality was due to embolism in 20 (26%). In 18 patients perfusion defects were substantially larger than the radiographic opacities and were not associated with matching ventilation abnormalities; of these, 16 (89%) had pulmonary embolism. Evaluation of the relative size of perfusion defects and radiographic abnormalities occurring in the same region improves the ability of lung scintigrams to predict pulmonary emboli.