A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a nuclear test that helps to visualize the biochemical changes taking place in your body, such as the metabolism of the heart. It is most often used in patients with brain or heart conditions, or certain types of cancer.
What Is a PET Scan?
A PET heart scan gives your physician important information about the flow of blood through the coronary arteries to your heart. An IV will be started in a vein in your arm after determining that your blood glucose level is less than 200. The radioactive tracer will be injected into the IV, along with saline. You will need to remain relaxed and still during the uptake time between the injection and scan, usually between 60 and 80 minutes.
You will lie flat on your back on the PET scanner table during the test. The table will move you into different positions in respect to the scanner. In turn, the PET scanner detects the radiation given off by the tracer and takes pictures of how it is distributing through your body. The scans usually require about 30 to 40 minutes, and will be reviewed before you leave to ensure that all necessary pictures have been taken.
A PET F-18 FDG scan is a specialized test that uses a form of glucose to determine if any heart tissue has permanent damage due to decreased blood flow. This type of PET scan might be used after a heart attack to determine the appropriate course of treatment.
What to Expect During PET scan
Preparing for Your Procedure
You should plan on your PET scan taking a total of two to three hours. If needed, please bring any pain, anxiety or claustrophobia medications that you will need for the PET scan.
Do not eat or drink anything for at least six hours prior to your PET scan. Check with your physician to determine if any of your medications should be avoided for the days leading up to your scheduled test. Make sure to bring all of your medications, as well as any herbal or dietary supplements and over-the-counter medications, to the test with you.
Avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours before your PET scan, and make sure to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time. Check with your physician for special instructions
During Your Procedure
You will be asked to empty your bladder right before you are given the IV with the radioactive tracer. During the test, it is important that you remain relaxed and completely still, allowing the technician to take the clearest pictures possible.
After Your Procedure
Once you are free to go, you can resume normal daily activities unless otherwise instructed by your physician. A report of the test will be sent to your physician, who will contact you to discuss your results.
Ohio State’s Ross Heart Hospital
To schedule your appointment, please call 614-293-ROSS or 888-293-ROSS.