PET/CT nuclear medicine

Computerized positron emission tomography (PET/CT) provides detailed images of what is happening in the human body at the cellular and molecular level. Physicians use it to see how the body works and measure its chemical and biological processes. To do molecular imaging we use a radioactive tracer that is injected into the patient’s blood.

PET/CT is ideal for detecting the cellular changes that occur in the early stages of the disease, long before physical changes are visible.

Two types of test are available:

  • Oncology PET scan: to assess a lesion, detect a recurrence, evaluate response to treatment and to find out whether a cancer has spread.
  • Brain PET scan: to detect degenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

How do I access the services?

The test must be requested by a medical specialist.

The physician’s office will forward the request to the Nuclear Medicine Department at Gatineau Hospital, which will analyse and prioritize it.

Nuclear Medicine Department staff will contact you for an appointment.

What to expect?

  • The test takes from 2 to 3 hours. 
  • Upon arrival, you will need to fill in a form and complete some paperwork. You will then be comfortably seated on a chair in a room by yourself. A venous line will be inserted through which the radiopharmaceutical will be administered. After the injection you will have to rest for 60 minutes before the test is done. 
  • For the imaging session, you must be prepared to remain lying down on the scan table with your arms raised for some 30 minutes. You must remain motionless while the scan table slowly moves through the opening of the device that captures the images.
  • After the imaging session, the specialist will assess whether another series of images is needed to clarify the diagnosis. You may be required to take a diuretic or go and have a meal and come back a few hours later for another series of images.


  • No strenuous exercise in the 24 hours before the test
  • Fasting for 6 hours before the appointment. Drink only water on the day of the test
  • Take customary medication - with water
  • Do not consume products containing sugar (mints, gum, cough syrup, mouthwash, etc.) on the day of the test
  • It is very important to avoid exposure to cold by covering up well when it is cold and avoiding exposure to air conditioning
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothing without buttons or zippers, and nothing made of metal or plastic
  • Do not wear jewellery
  • Take a pregnancy test if there is any possibility you are pregnant.
  • Breast-feeding should be stopped for 24 hours following the test
  • Bring reading material or music to pass the time
  • For diabetic patients: blood sugar levels must be below 9. Too high a blood sugar level will cause postponement of the test. It is important to mention that you are diabetic when you are contacted for your appointment.

Where and when
are services provided?

Gatineau Hospital
909 La Vérendrye Blvd.
(ground floor, station 8)

3 days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
(except statutory holidays), by appointment.

What to bring?

You’ll need your health insurance card and hospital card.