PET CT

How to Prepare for Your Cardiac Scan

IMPORTANT: Due to the rapidly changing coronavirus COVID-19 situation, please review this information before visiting any Lifespan facility or outpatient practice for an appointment or procedure. If needed, please call 401-444-7777 to reschedule your appointment.

  • If you are, or there is a chance you are, pregnant or if you start breastfeeding, please call the PET/CT department in advance of your scan day: 401-444-7777.
  • If at all possible, avoid unnecessary or prolonged contact with young children and pregnant women for eight hours after your scan has been completed.

Preparing for Your PET/CT Cardiac Scan

This test relies on the measurement of metabolic activity of your heart, so it is very important that you follow a specific diet. Please see details below.

  • 48 hours before your appointment, start following the diet described below.
  • 24 hours before your appointment, the only beverage allowed is plain water, no flavored drinks are allowed. No carbohydrates, sugar or artificial sweeteners are allowed.
  • 18 to 24 hours before your appointment, take nothing by mouth (except for water).
  • If you have diabetes, do not take any diabetic medication after midnight the evening before your scan. 
  • All other medications may be taken.
  • Only plain water is permitted; flavored water is not allowed.

A Sample Menu 48 hours Prior to a Cardiac Scan

  • A main course of beef, turkey, pork including bacon, fish, chicken, eggs. Nothing breaded.
  • A vegetable selection of broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, zucchini, spinach, mushrooms.
  • Dessert can be cheese (not processed) or cottage cheese.
  • It is important to be well hydrated before the scan. Drink plenty of plain water.

Examples of Sugars and Carbohydrates to Avoid

  • Candy, gum, cough drops or breath mints.
  • Fruit or fruit juices.
  • Jam or jelly.
  • Pasta, potatoes, rice or grains.
  • Breads, bagels, toast, muffins, cookies, crackers, or cereals.
  • Peanut butter or nuts.
  • Processed meats (such as cold cuts), sausages or processed cheese (such as Velveeta).
  • Ice cream.
  • Starchy vegetables such as corn, peas, carrots and beans.
  • No caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine products are allowed. Drink only water!

On the Day of Your Cardiac PET/CT Scan

Unless you are on fluid restriction, please drink at least 2 glasses of plain water prior to your appointment.

Try to stay warm on the day of your scan.  If possible, do not wear clothing with belts, zippers, snaps or metal of any kind to your appointment.  Women should try to wear a bra without underwires or clips (sports bra).

If you have favorite music, please bring it with you to listen to while your scan is going on.

If you have diabetes, do not take any diabetic medication after midnight the evening before your scan. 

All other medications may be taken.

What to Expect the Day of Your Cardiac Scan

Cardiac PET/CT scans include a variety of radiopharmaceuticals being administered and several sets of images.

Most Cardiac PET/CT scans take a total of three to six hours to complete due to the extent of imaging.

Please Note: If you have not followed the specific instructions prior to your test (exercise, fasting, etc.), your scan will need to be rescheduled.

After Your Cardiac PET/CT Scan

For several hours following your scan, continue to hydrate to help the radiopharmaceutical and oral barium contrast pass out of your body.

How PET CT works »