Medical technology continues to improve with each passing day. Procedures and tests that were needed to discover medical problems have been replaced with more intricate nuclear imaging tests which can not only determine the diagnosis, but whether certain surgeries are needed at all. PET scans of the heart have become an invaluable tool for doctors, so here are 5 heart PET scan FAQs and answers should you need one.
What Exactly Is a Heart PET Scan?
PET stands for heart positron emission tomography. It is used to evaluate and diagnose heart conditions and any areas of concern. Radiologists use a dye with radioactive tracers known as radionuclides, which are injected into the body, and then the patient will lie down as they enter the PET imaging machine. This computer produces a series of images that allow Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center to view a 3D map of the heart and surrounding tissues.
This test is usually performed as an outpatient procedure.
Why Would I Need a PET Scan?
Initially, a PET scan of the heart may also be ordered if you are having chest pains or tightness in your chest, shortness of breath, arrhythmia, or weakness and sweating.
Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center may want to screen for any cardiovascular disease, especially if you have risk factors like a family history of either heart disease or high cholesterol. In addition, they may want to check on the success of any earlier treatments or to find out if you have coronary artery disease.
With a PET scan, physicians can continue to monitor any damaged tissue after a heart procedure and decide on the best treatments moving forward.
What Are the Benefits of a Heart PET Scan?
A heart PET scan will give Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center an accurate measurement of the blood flow from your arteries to your heart. It can then be determined whether you have CAD or any other tissue damage after an earlier heart attack.
It can also effectively provide the information to decide if an angioplasty is needed to open clogged arteries or if bypass surgery is necessary.
Are There Any Risks Associated With a PET Scan?
Since the amount of radiation used is so small, this test is usually safe for the majority of patients. Make sure to tell Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and another type of test will be substituted.
How Do I Prepare for a Heart PET Test?
You may need to avoid certain foods and beverages prior to the test, such as caffeine or alcohol in the 24 hours beforehand. Do not eat 4 – 6 hours before the test, and only drink water. Be sure Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center is aware of all medications and supplements that you are currently taking.
If you have diabetes, then you may receive slightly different instructions on how to prepare for your heart PET scan.
Do not wear jewelry or other metal objects. Come to Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center dressed in comfortable loose clothing, and drink lots of water afterward to flush out the radioactive tracer.
Share all of your symptoms with Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center and prepare any additional questions if you are having a heart PET scan.