What is a cardiac PET study?

A PET study is a test used to check blood flow to your heart. During the test, a small amount of radioactive tracer is injected into a vein. The tracer is not a dye or contrast. A special camera, called a PET scanner, detects the radiation released by the tracer and creates computer images of your heart. The test is combined with a medication to open your blood vessels (vasodilator). The medication simulates the effects of exercise on your cardiovascular system, and is used if you are unable to exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike. The test plus the medication helps your doctor know if your heart is getting enough blood while you are active compared to when you are resting.

The test is also used to:

  • Find out how much heart damage you have after a heart attack
  • Find out how well your cardiac treatment plan is working

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/03/2019.

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