Cardiac PET is an advanced imaging technique that assesses blood flow to the heart

A PET camera will take pictures of your heart in two phases—a resting phase and a stress phase. These phases are then compared to allow for the assessment of blood flow through your heart and/or to look for prior damage to the heart muscle. Regadenoson is injected during the stress phase of the cardiac PET to dilate the coronary arteries.

Most cardiac PET studies are completed in less than an hour here at Baylor Scott & White Legacy Heart Center in Plano.

The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association state that PET scans have demonstrated statistically significantly higher diagnostic accuracy for detecting coronary artery disease.

Preparing for your cardiac PET appointment

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and comfortable walking shoes.
  • Since your blood pressure will be checked periodically during the test, wear a short-sleeved shirt or blouse.
  • Do not wear boots, jumpsuits, overalls, or a dress.
  • Please do not eat or drink anything with caffeine in it for 24 hours before your stress test. Items with caffeine include sodas, "caffeine-free" sodas, coffee, decaf coffee, tea, decaf tea, chocolate, Excedrin and certain cold or diet pills.
  • Do not eat anything four hours prior to the stress test. If you are diabetic, follow your normal regimen but eat light. You may have juice before the test if needed.
  • Please do not smoke or exercise eight hours before testing.
  • You should continue to take all medications, unless your cardiologist instructs you to do otherwise.
  • If you use inhalers, bring them to the test.

What to expect during a cardiac PET

When you begin the cardiac PET at our heart center in Plano, a small IV line will be placed in a vein in your arm. The IV will allow us to inject a small amount of a radiopharmaceutical so that the PET camera can take pictures of the heart. You will be asked to lie on a scanning table made especially for the PET camera.

A blood pressure cuff will be placed around your other arm to monitor your blood pressure during the test. Electrodes will be placed on your chest to monitor your electrocardiogram throughout the test.

You will lie on your back with your arms above your head while the camera takes images of the blood flow to your heart from many different angles. During this process, regadenoson will be injected for stress images. The pictures are stored in digital form on a special computer.

Who will give me the results?

After a review of the test, your medical history, other imaging modalities and previous tests by a Baylor Scott & White Legacy Heart Center cardiologist, a report will be sent to the ordering physician. The ordering physician will then review and provide the results.