If you’re in the care of a cardiologist you may be asked to participate in a battery of diagnostic tests to determine the overall wellness of your cardiac system. One commonly used assessment is called the Positron Emission Tomography Scan, or P.E.T. Scan.
During this test, doctors inject a small amount of radioactive material, or tracer, into your bloodstream. Then the scanner is used to detect gamma rays emitted by the tracer to create an image of how your cardiac muscles are functioning on a cellular level. Since the P.E.T. is able to detect biochemical changes in the functionality of your organs, it can identify these changes before there are discernable differences in the organs anatomical structure.

Tell Your Cardiologist About Your Medications
Let this be a general recommendation whenever you’re meeting with your cardiologist or any other physician. It is very important that your doctors are aware of any other medications that have been prescribed to you. In the case of a P.E.T. Scan, your medications may interact with the radioactive drug used for the test.

Fast Before The Test
Like many other cardiac diagnostic tests, the P.E.T. scan is a fasting test. This means patients should not eat or drink anything for at least six hours before the scan. This includes everything from food and drinks to cough drops and chewing gum. Changes in blood sugar could alter your results.

Tell Your Cardiologist If You’re Pregnant
The radioactive substance is injected into your bloodstream is a small enough dosage that it has no long-lasting effect on the body of a grown adult. However, introducing such chemicals to a pregnant woman or her baby. It’s important to tell your cardiologist if you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding or to test yourself if you suspect that you may be pregnant.

Tell Someone If You Are Claustrophobic
It is not uncommon for claustrophobic patients to have a hard time during their P.E.T scan. The test takes approximately 30 minutes, and during the test, the patient must lay very still in a somewhat confined space. If this would be difficult for you, your cardiologist may prescribe a sedative to help you relax during the exam.

The P.E.T. scan is a powerful test that allows your cardiologist to gain critical information that will assist in determining your cardiac health. If you have more questions about how this test works or are concerned about the potential risks of radioactive tracers, ask your cardiologist. We believe our patients should be informed about and confident in the cardiac care they are receiving. For more information, or to schedule an appointment with one of our cardiologists, contact us today.