DR. MIGUEL CASTELLANOS, M.D, P.A.

SOUTHEAST TEXAS CARDIOLOGY

610 Strickland Dr. Suite #100

Orange, Texas 77630

(409) 886-7245

CARDIAC PET SCANS

WHAT IS CARDIAC PET SCANS?

A PET scan of the heart is a noninvasive nuclear imaging test. It uses radioactive tracers (called radionuclides) to produce pictures of your heart. Doctors use cardiac PET scans to diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD) and damage due to a heart attack. PET scans can show healthy and damaged heart muscle. Doctors also use PET scans to help find out if you will benefit from a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) such as angioplasty and stenting, coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) or another procedure.

HOW DOES A PET SCAN WORK?

A radioactive tracer is injected into your bloodstream. The tracers used for PET are mostly natural body compounds such as glucose, water or ammonia, which are labeled or “tagged” with a small amount of radioactive material. Inside your body the radioactive tracer produces a type of energy called a gamma ray. Gamma rays are detected by a gamma detector and are used to produce a series of clear images of your heart. Images of thin slices made all the way through the heart can be produced from all different directions and angles. Computer graphics can be used to create a 3-dimensional image of your heart from the thin-slice images.

 

Dr. Castellanos will be able to tell if your heart muscle is functioning or (if the heart muscle isn’t working) if your heart muscle is still alive by how well it takes up and uses the different tracers. He will determine this by examining the images to find where the tracer is. Viable heart tissue will take in more of the tracer than tissue that’s no longer viable. Different colors or degrees of brightness on the PET scan show different levels of tissue function.

HOW ARE THE RESULTS DETERMINED?

Dr. Castellanos will review the pictures of your heart to assess blood flow to your heart muscle and/or to look for any heart muscle damage. He will contact you with the report or schedule a follow-up visit to review your test results.

A PET scan is a very accurate way to diagnose coronary artery disease and detect areas of low blood flow in the heart. PET can also identify dead tissue and injured tissue that’s still living and functioning. If the tissue is viable, you may benefit from a PCI or coronary artery bypass surgery.

WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE CARDIAC PET SCANS?

  • PET scans use radioactive material called tracers. Tracers mix with your blood and are taken up by your heart muscle.
  •  A special “gamma” detector that circles the chest picks up signals from the tracer. A computer converts the signals into pictures of your heart at work.
  •  A PET scan shows if your heart is getting enough blood or if blood flow is reduced because of narrowed arteries. It also shows dead cells (scars) from a prior heart attack.
  •  A PET scan can help in determining if you’ll benefit from a cardiac procedure (PCI) or surgery to restore blood flow. The tracers used for PET scans can help identify injured but still living (viable) heart muscle that might be saved if blood flow is restored.

FACTS ABOUT PET SCANS

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THE PET EXAM?

Knowing what to expect ahead of time will make your experience easier. Please follow these instructions before the PET exam:

  • Do NOT eat or drink anything except water for 4-6 hours before your test, please drink plenty of water
  • No caffeine 12 hours before your test
  • No tobacco 12 hours before your test
  • Wear comfortable clothing and no jewelry
  • You will be asked if you have any allergies. Please be prepared to address this to Dr. Castellanos
  • Plan to bring a list of all your medication to the exam

© COPYRIGHT 2015. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DESIGNED BY LIFE IN MOTION