Daily Medication & Allergies
Inform your doctor about any medications that you may take, including your daily vitamin supplements. Your doctor will inform you whether it is okay/safe to take them before the PET-CT scan.
You must also inform your doctor about any allergies. If required, the doctor will make necessary arrangements beforehand.
Some special arrangements need to be made for PET-CT scans for diabetic patients. Doctors usually recommend that you take your medication at least 4 hours before the scan. Just make sure your doctor is well-informed about your medical history before the examination.
If you have claustrophobia or are generally afraid of being in closed spaces, you must inform your doctor before your PET-CT scan. Sometimes the hospital allows you to take a guest with you in the screening room for moral support.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding guidelines
It is not usually advised for pregnant women or nursing mothers to take a PET-CT scan unless necessary. Your doctor will be able to guide you based on your situation.
Diet and Water Fast
You are supposed to do at least a 6-hour water fast before going for your PET-CT scan. Doctors also recommend that you switch to a low-carb diet 24 hours prior. Moreover, it is also advised to increase your water intake right before the scan.
In some cases, your doctor may ask you to drink a glass of oral contrast before your CT scan. Oral contrast is a liquid containing a chemical, either barium or Gastrografin, that helps the doctor get better images of your scan. You will be asked to wait at least 60 or 90 minutes after taking the contrast for it to pass through your body.
Some people are allergic to barium, iodine, or any type of contrast dye, so make sure you inform your doctor beforehand. Your doctor might also ask you to have IV (intravenous) contrast dye before your scan. IV dyes are usually iodine-based, so make sure you inform your doctor if you have had any past allergic reactions to iodine. Note that modern IV contrast dyes are less likely to cause an allergic reaction, so you can still have your CT scan done in most cases.
Request for music
If you are feeling scared or nervous about your first PET-CT scan, music acts as a great relaxant to calm your nerves. You can request your doctor to make arrangements for you if you wish to listen to music during your PET-CT scan.
Remove metal accessories
Metal accessories can interfere with the testing equipment. Make sure you are not wearing any metal accessories when coming for your scan, for instance, jewelry, watch, spectacles, etc. Even clothes with metallic buttons or undergarments with metallic hooks are supposed to be removed before the exam. Medical devices like pacemakers and prostheses do not affect your PET-CT scan results. Wearing an insulin pump or glucose monitor does not impede CT scans, but devices should be removed whenever possible.