Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
How It Feels
You will not feel pain during the test.
The table you lie on may be hard and the room may be cool. It may be difficult
to lie still during the test.
You may feel a quick sting or pinch
when the IV is put in your arm. The tracer may make you feel warm and flushed.
Some people feel sick to their stomach or have a headache. Tell your doctor how
you are feeling.
You may feel nervous inside the PET
There is always a slight chance of damage to
cells or tissue from radiation, including the low levels of radiation used for
this test. But the chance of damage is usually very low compared with the
benefits of the test.
Most of the tracer will be flushed from your
body within 6 to 24 hours.
Allergic reactions to the tracer are very rare.
In rare cases, some soreness or swelling may develop at the IV site where
the radioactive tracer was put in. Apply a moist, warm compress to your
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a
test that uses a special type of camera and a
tracer (radioactive chemical) to look at organs in the
radiologist may discuss preliminary results of the PET
scan with you right after the test. Complete results are usually available in 1
to 2 days.
Positron emission tomography (PET)
Blood flow is normal and organs are working
well. The flow and pattern of the tracer shows normal distribution in the
- Decreased blood flow and increased
metabolism may show that the blood vessels are
blocked. This may mean
coronary artery disease (CAD) is
- Decreased blood flow and glucose metabolism may mean that
heart tissue is scarred and damaged, such as from a
See a picture of
PET scans of the brain .
| Tumor detection:
Areas of increased glucose metabolism may mean
a tumor is present.
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- Being pregnant. A PET scan is not usually done
during pregnancy because the radiation could harm the unborn baby (fetus).
- Using caffeine, tobacco, or
alcohol in the past 24 hours.
- Not being able to lie still for the
- Being too anxious.
- Taking medicines, such as
insulin, that change your
- Having recently had surgery, a