What is a Cardiac PET Exam?

Menorah Medical Center’s Cardiac Positron Emission Tomography (PET) exams help to evaluate heart health by measuring the blood flow brought by the coronary arteries to the heart muscle. For decades, doctors have used cardiac PET scans to safely and accurately identify the presence or absence of coronary artery disease in people who have had symptoms and/or risk factors. Exam results can also indicate if any follow-up treatment is needed. If a patient is already being treated for a heart-related condition, the physician can also use the results to help manage a treatment plan.Only a doctor can decide if a cardiac PET exam is right for a patient. Special precautions may be taken for patients with the following conditions:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma or lung disease
  • Pregnancy, nursing, or potential pregnancy
  • Allergies to caffeine, theophylline, aminophylline,or dipyridamole
  • Claudication (cramping of leg muscles with walking)

How does the cardiac PET exam work?

Menorah’s highly-trained medical personnel will be right there with your patient throughout the procedure, filling them in on what to expect with each step of the exam.

  • Most cardiac PET exams take less than 1 hour; however, a longer exam should not be cause for concern.
  • The examination team will ask questions about your patient’s medical history. Be sure to have them report all medications they are taking.
  • They will be asked to lie down on a scanning table made especially for the PET camera.
  • Medication will be administered through an IV line in a vein in the patient’s arm. Small pads called electrodes will be placed on the chest so the medical team can monitor the electrical activity of the heart throughout the study.

A small amount of a radiopharmaceutical will be given through an IV line. This lets the PET camera capture pictures of the patient’s heart.

Communication is important! Menorah’s medical team encourages patients to ask questions if they have any concerns.

We quickly report any symptoms or concerns a patient experiences before, during, and after the exam, including chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, headache, dizziness, light-headedness, or a flushed feeling during the test.

How are the results determined?

  • Our cardiologists, who are trained in the interpretation of cardiac PET exams, will review the pictures of the patient’s heart to assess blood flow to the heart muscle and/or to look for any heart muscle damage.
  • The cardiologist will send a report to the physician who ordered the exam.
  • The doctor will contact the patient or schedule a follow-up office visit to review the test results.

Appointment Tip:

Patient’s should consider they will need to skip eating and drinking caffeine for several hours beforehand.

How to prepare for the cardiac PET exam?

Knowing what to expect ahead of time will make the experience easier. Inform your patient with instructions on how to prepare for the exam, as well as how long it might take.

Patients may be asked to make a few important changes before the exam:

  • Patients may be asked to temporarily stop taking certain medications. It is very important they check with their physician BEFORE discontinuing any medication.
  • Patients may be asked to not eat or drink anything for a period of time before the exam.
  • Patients may be asked to avoid consuming caffeine products for at least 12-24 hours before their exam. Patients may be asked to provide some important information.
  • Patients will be asked if they have any allergies.
  • Plan to bring a list of all your medications to the exam.

How to Dress:

Wear comfortable clothing and leave jewelry at home. Patients may want to dress in layers, just in case they get too cold or warm.

Patients will need a referral from their physicians to have this test administered. For appointment information, please call (913) 345-3601.