Test Details & Preparation
Positron emission tomography (PET) cardiology viability imaging determines how much heart muscle has been damaged by heart disease or a heart attack by injecting a radioactive sugar tracer. The test measures the way the heart uses glucose-a type of sugar that all cells in the body use for energy. Cells that have been damaged or killed by heart disease or a heart attack will use little or no glucose. Healthy cells and cells that are recovering from injury will use more glucose.
Doctors order a PET viability imaging to confirm heart damage indicated by other tests to measure how much heart tissue has been damaged by a heart attack or heart disease and to tell whether a patient may need angiography, cardiac bypass surgery, a heart transplant, or other procedures.
An intravenous (small plastic tube) will be inserted into a vein in your arm ECG electrodes and leads will be placed on your chest to monitor the heart your blood pressure will be checked a small amount of radioactive material (rubidium-82 or ammonia N-13) will be given through the intravenous you will be asked to lie still on your back in the PET machine. The machine takes resting pictures of the heart for 25 to 30 minutes your blood sugar level will be measured. A small dose of insulin (a substance that helps control blood sugar levels) may be given.
If you have diabetes, there is a special procedure to follow. If you do not have diabetes, you will take a special sugar drink. You will then wait for approximately one hour a small amount of radioactive material (F-18-FDG) will be given to you through the intravenous you will wait for 45 minutes and then be asked to lie still on your back in the PET machine again. The machine takes pictures of the heart for 25 to 30 minutes.
The entire PET viability imaging test is completed in about three hours. The nuclear technologist will process the study and a physician will read the test. The report will be sent to the patient's doctor.
Patients should not eat after midnight before the procedure. Most drugs patients are taking for heart conditions can be ingested with water before the procedure. Patients on diuretics (drugs that remove excess fluid in the body) may need to wait until after the PET imaging to take these medications. Patients who are diabetic will receive special instructions from their doctors about what to do before and after the test, since PET viability imaging can affect blood-sugar levels.