PET Scan Preparation

There are two types of PET scans. One is used primarily for cardiac exams--this one is referred to as Myocardial Perfusion PET (also called Adenosine or Rubidium PET). The other PET exam is used to study such things as tumors, brain disorders, or infection; however, it can also be used to study the heart--this exam is referred to as FDG PET.

The required preparations for the two types of PET are very different.

If you are unsure which exam you are receiving, please call our scheduling department at: 310.423.8000 (option 1).

Why Choose the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center


Exam time: approximately 3-4 hours.

This is the preparation for an FDG PET. This exam is used for such things as tumor detection, brain disorders, or infection--it is also used for a study of the heart called myocardial viability. There is a different PET scan available, which is used to perform an exam called Myocardial Perfusion PET or Rubidium PET--the preparation for Rubidium PET is very different than for an FDG PET. 

FDG PET scans require careful preparation, so please follow instructions carefully.

* Diabetics should discuss the preparation with their physician before making any alteration to their diet.

  • 48 hours prior to your appointment:

    • Do not do any strenuous exercise or deep-tissue massage.
  • 24 hours prior to your appointment:

    • Stay on a VERY LOW-carbohydrate, NO-sugar diet. Please see Low-Carbohydrate Diet Guidelines below.
    • Do use chewing gum or mints.
  • 6 hours prior to your appointment:

    • Do NOT eat anything with the exception of water.
    • Drinking water is encouraged to ensure hydration for best test results.
    • Continue to take medications as prescribed.
    • If you are diabetic, please consult your doctor for questions regarding diet and medication. Carefully monitor and control your blood sugar the 48 hours before the scan.

Low-Carbohydrate Diet Guidelines:


Foods allowed:

  • All meats and poultry
  • Hard cheeses
  • Non-starchy vegetables, such as: broccoli, spinach, green beans.
  • Nuts and unsweetened peanut butter
  • Diet soda and zero-calorie drinks. (Be careful to avoid caffeinated and decaffeinated drinks. Decaffeinated drinks still contain small amounts of caffeine.)
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Oil, margarine, butter
Foods NOT allowed: 
  • No cereals
  • No pasta
  • No dry beans
  • No fruit and fruit juices
  • No sugar, honey, desserts, or candy
  • No starchy vegetables, such as: peas, corn, potatoes
  • No alcohol
  • No nutritional shakes or smoothies
  • No breads
  • No rice
  • No gravies
  • No jams and jellies
  • No milk or yogurt (including non-dairy milk)
  • No coffee or tea (nothing with caffeine.)


Myocardial Perfusion PET (also known as Rubidium or Adenosine PET)

Exam time: approximately 3-4 hours. 

  1. Consult with your physician about going off beta blockers for 48 hours and calcium channel blockers for 24 hours before the test.
  2. Do not eat or drink 6 hours prior to your exam (Diabetics: please consult your physician about the preparation for this exam.)
  3. No caffeine for 24 hours (i.e. chocolate, sodas, teas, coffee, or Excedrin) prior to the exam. Please note: decaffeinated products contain caffeine.
  4. Please wear a comfortable 2-piece outfit and walking shoes.
  5. Please bring all of your medications with you.

If you are unsure if this is the correct preparation for your exam, please call our scheduling department at: 310.423.8000 (option 1).

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake, and West Hollywood.  
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