Cardiac PET/CT

Purpose of Test: A cardiac positron emission tomography (PET) scan images the heart muscle using a small amount of radioactivity. Cardiac PET/CT provides improved accuracy, less radiation and increased efficiency in the detection of coronary artery disease compared to current modes of nuclear stress testing (SPECT). Cardiac PET/CT is particularly helpful in patients who are heavy (have a high body mass index, or BMI), or have a large amount of breast/chest wall tissue, breast implants, or pleural or pericardial effusions.

Most people can have a PET scan. However, pregnant women, nursing mothers and people with recent acute medical conditions usually cannot have a cardiac PET/CT scan. Your ordering physician will discuss this with you in detail.

A cardiac PET/CT myocardial perfusion scan images blood flow to the heart muscle at rest and stress. It can detect coronary artery disease by demonstrating decreased blood flow, which may benefit from angioplasty or surgery. A follow-up cardiac PET/CT myocardial perfusion scan can be used to assess the effectiveness of treatment.

A cardiac PET/CT viability scan can distinguish damaged heart muscle from scarring (infarction), which may benefit from angioplasty or surgery.

Location: 1305 York Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10021 (SW Corner of 70th St. & York Ave)

Arrival Time: Plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to appointment time

To reschedule: 646-962-4278

Duration of Test: ~ 3 hours

Preparation for Test:

  1. Do not eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test. Drink a small amount of water to take necessary medications
  2. Avoid all caffeine products for 24 hours including the following:
  • Coffee including decaffeinated and caffeine-free, tea, energy/soft drinks, chocolate, cocoa, strawberries, etc
  • Medications with caffeine (Excedrin®, Anacin®, Nodoz®, diet pills)
  1. Do not smoke or use nicotine gum on the day of the test
  2. Please bring a copy of all medications including over-the-counter medications and supplements you take
  3. Please consult your physician if you have the following medical conditions and take the specified medications:
  • Asthma: do not take theophylline for 48 hours before the test
  • Diabetes on insulin: ask your physician how much insulin you should take the day of the test as you may need to take less than your usual morning dose or eat a light meal four hours before the test
  • Chest pain/discomfort: do not take the followingon the day of the test unless your physician tells you otherwise or if you have chest discomfort:
    • Isosorbide dinitrate (Dilatrate®, Isordil®)
    • Isosorbide mononitrate (Imdur®, ISMO®, Monoket®)
    • Nitroglycerin (Minitran®, Nitropatches®, Nitrostat®)
    • Dioyridamole (Persantine ®) Do not take for 48 hours before the test
  • Stroke: do not take Aggrenox ® for 48 hours before the test

What should I expect during the test?

  1. An EKG, heart rate and blood pressure will be obtained
  2. An IV will be placed into a vein in your arm or hand
  3. You will be asked to lie flat within the PET/CT camera which is similar to a CT scanner
  4. A small amount of a radioactive tracer will be injected into your IV while you are in the camera
  5. Images of your heart will be obtained as your lie flat/still for about 10-20 minutes within the PET/CT camera
  6. A medication (i.e. dipyridamole, adenosine or regadenoson) will be injected into your IV while you are in the scanner to identify areas of the heart without adequate blood flow. The medication may cause a warm, flushing sensation or headache. Please report any symptoms of chest, arm or jaw pain/discomfort, shortness of breath, lightheadedness or dizziness, etc. to the healthcare provider
  7. After the medication, an additional injection of the radioactive tracer and images of the heart will be obtained as described above
  8. After the test, your IV will be removed. There will be no significant amount of radioactivity remaining within your body at the end of the test. Regular activities can be resumed after the study.


A Program of the Dalio Institute of Cardiovascular Imaging
at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
428 East 72nd Street Suite 300
New York, NY 10021 Map This P: (646) 962-4278 (HART) F: (646) 962-0188