A PET (positron emission tomography) scan is a procedure used to observe the brain, the heart, or tumors. You will be given an injection of a low-level radioactive material attached to a natural body chemical. The scan shows where the radioactive material went and how much of it the brain, heart, or tumors are using.
The doctor may order this procedure to find:
Other tests such as CT scans, stress tests, or X-rays may also be used. Ask your provider about which tests are best for you.
Follow the doctor's instructions. The night before the procedure, eat a light meal such as soup and salad and do not eat or drink anything the morning of the procedure. Eating affects blood sugar (glucose) levels. The blood glucose level needs to be less than 200 at the time of the scan. PET scan test results will not be accurate if blood glucose levels are too high.
The PET technologist will inject a low-level radioactive material and a natural body compound (most commonly glucose, but sometimes water or ammonia) into your vein. The PET scanner has a hole in the middle and looks like a large doughnut. You will lie down on an examining table that slides into the PET scanner. You will be asked to rest quietly and try not to move or talk. The technologist will then take pictures that help the doctor understand the health of the organs scanned.
The PET technologist will send the complete report to the doctor, who will interpret the results.
You should drink plenty of fluids to flush the radioactive substance from your body. Ask your doctor what other steps you should take and when you should come back for a checkup.
This procedure will help the doctor make a more accurate diagnosis.
You may have an allergic reaction to the chemical used in the scan. Ask your provider how this risk applies to you.
Call the doctor during office hours if: