PET Scan Exam Instructions

Whole Body, Cardiac PET and Brain Only PET

Close | Print

Your physician has ordered a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan for you. This test will provide localization of any metabolically active disease. The results will aid your doctor in making treatment decisions for you. It is essential that you follow the instructions below in order to insure quality and accuracy of your scan.
Wear something that is comfortable and easy to remove. For some of the scans you will be asked to change into a gown. Metal objects interfere with the image quality so avoid clothing with zippers or snaps. You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for 6 hours prior to the exam.

Instructions for the 12 hours prior to your exam time:

Day of Your Exam
You will be given an injection of a radiotracer, which is the medication that allows us to see different body structures and function. After the injection, you will be required to rest comfortably for approximately 1 hour in order to allow the radiotracer to be distributed throughout your body. You will then be brought to the PET/CT room and positioned on a table for imaging. The imaging will take approximately 45 minutes. During this period, both CT and PET images will be obtained which will later be fused together to provide further detailed information.
Following the PET study, you will be slightly radioactive for the next 24 hours. The radioactivity will be gone after 24 hours. Once you leave the imaging center, you may resume normal activities. If you have any questions, please ask the technologist at the time of the examination.

Cardiac PET

Purpose
Your physician has ordered a PET Scan for you. The test will visualize healthy muscle (metabolically active). The results will aid your doctor in making treatment decisions for you.
Exercise
Do not engage in any strenuous exercise 24 hours prior to your test.
Diet
On the day of exam, do not eat anything 6 hours before your appointment time. If your schedule allows, you may eat a light breakfast or lunch. Drink only water on the day of your exam. You may take medications you physician has prescribed.
Diabetic
A diabetic patient should eat only small protein meals (meat, fish or chicken) to control his blood sugar. The patient should adhere to his normal insulin schedule or modify it only under his doctor’s supervision.
Day of the Exam
An angiocath (IV) will be placed in your arm. Your blood glucose level will be checked and re-checked. Your blood sugar levels may be adjusted using small doses of insulin. At the appropriate time, a small dose of a radioactive sugar (FDG) will be injected. The PET Scan will be acquired 45 minutes after the (FDG) injection. Your total time commitment may be as long as 4 hours.
There are no residual side effects from the procedure. You will be able to drive yourself home with no difficulty.

Brain Only PET

Purpose
Your physician has ordered a PET Scan of your brain. The scan will help your doctor to make more informed decisions about your treatment.
Diet
Please, do no have any caffeine or decaffeinated products 24 hours before your appointment time- coffee, tea, chocolate, Coke, etc.
Exercise
Do no do any strenuous exercise or chew gum the day before your exam.
Day of the Exam
Take nothing by mouth but water and any oral medication you may need 6 hours before your appointment time. If you are a diabetic and there is a question about taking medication, please, call your doctor. If you must eat, please, eat a small protein meal. You will be injected with glucose (sugar) that has been labeled with radioactive tracer. The injection will be given via a vein in your arm, hand or pic-line. We do not access indwelling porta-caths.

Your head will be positioned is a special holder and taped to reduce and movement. We will make every effort to make you as comfortable as possible- pillows under your knees, arm rests, blankets, etc.

There will be no residual side effects from the procedure. You will be able to drive yourself home with no difficulty. You physician will have the results, generally, within 48 hours.