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HIDA Scan

A hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan is an imaging procedure used to diagnose problems of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts.
For a HIDA scan, also known as cholescintigraphy or hepatobiliary scintigraphy, a radioactive tracer is injected into a vein in your arm. The tracer travels through your bloodstream to your liver, where the bile-producing cells take it up. The tracer then travels with the bile into your gallbladder and through your bile ducts to your small intestine.
A nuclear medicine scanner (gamma camera) tracks the flow of the tracer from your liver into your gallbladder and small intestine and creates computer images.

Why it's done

A HIDA scan is most often done to evaluate your gallbladder. It's also used to look at the bile-excreting function of your liver and to track the flow of bile from your liver into your small intestine. A HIDA scan is often used with X-ray and ultrasound.
A HIDA scan might help in the diagnosis of several diseases and conditions, such as:
  • Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis).
  • Bile duct obstruction.
  • Congenital abnormalities in the bile ducts, such as biliary atresia.
  • Postoperative complications, such as bile leaks and fistulas.
  • Assessment of liver transplant
Your doctor might use a HIDA scan as part of a test to measure the rate at which bile is released from your gallbladder (gallbladder ejection fraction).

Frequently Asked Questions

During a HIDA scan, a camera takes pictures of your gallbladder after a radioactive tracer is injected into a vein in your arm. The tracer travels through your liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and small intestine. The camera takes a series of pictures of the tracer as it moves along.
The procedure involves the injection of a small amount of a radioactive isotope and obtaining multiple timed images over a course of 1-4 hours. When you arrive to the Nuclear Medicine department a technologist will explain the test to you.
A HIDA scan (uses radioactive material) can measure gallbladder emptying while an ERCP test uses an endoscope to place dye in the ducts of the pancreas, gallbladder and liver, and. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is sometimes used to detail the organ structures (liver, gallbladder, and pancreas).
HIDA scan is unable to demonstrate the complications of acute cholecystitis. Although the CT scan is readily available, the radiation of the CT scan should also be taken into account, especially in young patients. HIDA scan and CT can be used for the evaluation of sonographically equivocal cases.
This hormone may cause short-lived side effects including abdominal cramping, pain, and nausea. Severe abdominal pain or nausea is uncommon, and the side effects tend to subside a few minutes after the injection is complete. Imaging during this portion of the exam lasts for 30 minutes.
They concluded, however, that a HIDA scan is superior to ultrasound in diagnosing cholecystitis, having higher sensitivity, specificity and accuracy than ultrasound. May adds that in the opposite case the hepatobiliary scan is also superior to ultrasound.
If the results show that your scan was "normal", your gallbladder is working like it should and is an average size and shape. A normal test result also means that your liver and small intestine are healthy. If your scan was “abnormal,” it likely means your images revealed one of the following:
  • An Infection
  • Gallstones
  • Bile duct blockage
  • A problem with how your gallbladder functions
  • An abnormal growth
If a diagnosis of gallbladder disease is not certain after an ultrasound, a HIDA scan may be performed. This test allows for the visualization of bile movement through the bile duct system.
A HIDA scan might help in the diagnosis of several diseases and conditions, such as:
  • Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis)
  • Bile duct obstruction.
  • Congenital abnormalities in the bile ducts, such as biliary atresia.
  • Postoperative complications, such as bile leaks and fistulas.
  • Assessment of liver transplant.
A HIDA or PIPIDA scan is generally done to diagnose gall bladder disease. This study is safe in patients with chronic kidney disease.
Do not eat for four hours before the HIDA scan. Water is okay. Eat a "fatty" meal the night before (e.g., drink a glass of whole milk). This will have the gallbladder ready for the study.
A HIDA scan is a type of imaging study called a nuclear medicine scan. This means the HIDA scan uses a radioactive chemical or tracer that helps highlight certain organs on the scan.
It is concluded that 99Tcm-HIDA imaging, with a 3 min infusion of CCK, is a highly accurate technique and valuable in the diagnostic management of patients with suspected acalculous gallbladder disease.
Your baby will get a small amount of radiation exposure just by being held by you until the radioactive tracer leaves your body. If possible, do not hold your baby for long periods of time for the first 6 hours after your nuclear medicine test.
You can resume normal activities after the Hida Scan.
If you have any questions, the nuclear medicine staff will be happy to help you. Since imaging rooms can be chilly, please dress in warm, comfortable clothing without metal buttons, snaps or buckles. We will ask you to remove metal objects such as belt buckles, coins and keys.
Because of the nature of the test, do not wear jewelry or metal accessories on the day of the test, as you'll likely be asked to remove them.
HIDA Scan. Normal filling of the gallbladder. Unobstructed passage of radiotracer through the cystic duct, bile duct and into the duodenum. Gallbladder ejection fraction of 72% (Normal > 33% for this protocol)
Pain - If using a HIDA scan with CCK, patients should be warned that the test will likely bring on very similar pain to what they felt previously, especially in the setting of calculus. The test may be very painful.
Do not chew gum, Nicorette gum, candy (including mints), or cough drops for at least 6 hours before your scan. You may take any prescribed medications with water. If any of your medications must be taken with food ask your doctor whether you should take your morning dose without food or take it after the scan.
What should I do before my HIDA scan? Let your doctor know of any medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, and over-the- counter medicine. Some of them may need to be stopped in the days before the test. Don't eat, drink, or take any pain medicine for at least 6 hours before the test.
Prior to bedtime, the night before the test, please eat a candy bar, power bar or drink a glass of whole milk. You must fast 6 hours before the exam. Please hold narcotic medications 4 hours prior to test.
A radiologist will interpret the images, write a report, and deliver the results to your doctor via the internal computer system. This process usually takes less than 24 hours.
A HIDA scan (uses radioactive material) can measure gallbladder emptying while an ERCP test uses an endoscope to place dye in the ducts of the pancreas, gallbladder and liver, and. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is sometimes used to detail the organ structures (liver, gallbladder, and pancreas).
The HIDA scan itself is painless, but you may feel a brief sting or pinch as the IV is placed in your arm. You may feel a brief pain in your belly as the medicine that stimulates your gallbladder starts to work. Anytime you're exposed to radiation, there's a small chance of damage to cells or tissue.
A hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan is an imaging procedure used to diagnose problems of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts. For a HIDA scan, also known as cholescintigraphy or hepatobiliary scintigraphy, a radioactive tracer is injected into a vein in your arm.
Hepatobiliary imaging is a type of nuclear medicine imaging that helps evaluate the liver, gallbladder and the ducts that are part of the biliary system. This test will show whether there are any blockages in the gallbladder or biliary duct.
A HIDA scan, also called cholescintigraphy or hepatobiliary scintigraphy, is an imaging test used to view the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and small intestine. The scan involves injecting a radioactive tracer into a person's vein. The tracer travels through the bloodstream into the body parts listed above.
They concluded, however, that a HIDA scan is superior to ultrasound in diagnosing cholecystitis, having higher sensitivity, specificity and accuracy than ultrasound. May adds that in the opposite case the hepatobiliary scan is also superior to ultrasound.
The scan will take approximately one hour. Physicians often use this scan to check post cholecystectomy patients of bile leaks, stents, or biliary drainage catheters.
  • Do not eat or drink anything except for clear liquids for four hours before your test.
  • If you have any other test that you were told not to eat or drink for a longer amount of time, follow those instructions.
A HIDA scan involves some special preparation: Fast for four hours prior to your HIDA scan. Your doctor may allow you to drink clear liquids. Inform your doctor about all medications and supplements you are taking.
For the HIDA scan, the value of the effective dose is approximately 2.5 milliievert (mSv) and we would estimate that the risk of developing a fatal cancer as a consequence of this radiation dose is about 0.012%, or one chance in 8,000.
Morphine and diluadid can be used to relieve the pain associated with biliary colic. However, narcotics should be avoided at least 4 hours prior to a HIDA scan as it can affect the length of the exam and the sensitivity of it.
We will need you to stop drinking, eating and smoking for 6 hours prior to your appointment time. Please bring a fatty snack with you. You will not need to get undressed for the scan. There is no need to stop any of your medication prior to the scan.