PET scan depicting the effects of Alzheimer's
disease on metabolism. The arrow indicates areas of low activity in the
parietotemporal cortex - a region important for processing language and memory.
What is a
(positron emission tomography) scan is a procedure used to
observe the brain, the heart, and tumors. You will be given
an injection of a low-level radioactive material and an
organic chemical. This liquid will travel to the brain and
heart. The scan shows the distribution of the radioactive
material and what is happening in the organs.
is it used?
doctor may order this procedure to find:
coronary artery disease
damaged or dead heart muscle
effect of drugs on the heart and brain
brain changes and diseases
cause of mental disorders, such as schizophrenia
abnormal tissue or tumors
shifts in blood distribution
affected by a stroke or blood clot.
alternative to this test, you could choose not to have
treatment, recognizing the risks of your condition. You
should ask your doctor about this choice.
do I prepare for a PET scan?
the doctor's instructions. The night before the procedure,
eat a light meal such as soup and salad and don't eat or
drink anything the morning of the procedure.
happens during the procedure?
technologist will inject a low-level radioactive material
and an organic chemical into your vein. You will lie down on
an examining table that slides into the PET machine. The
technologist will then take pictures that help the doctor
understand the health of the organs scanned.
happens after the procedure?
technologist will send the complete report to the doctor,
who will interpret the results.
should ask your doctor what other steps you should take and
when you should come back for a checkup.
are the benefits of this procedure?
procedure will help the doctor make a more accurate
are the risks associated with this procedure?
have an allergic reaction to the chemical used in the scan.
should ask your doctor how this risk applies to you.
should I call the doctor?
doctor during office hours if: