HIDA Scan

This is a special test that uses a radioactive tracer to diagnose problems in the gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver.




This is a special test that uses a radioactive tracer to diagnose problems in the gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver.



A HIDA scan is a special test that uses a radioactive tracer to diagnose problems in the gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver.

  • After the radioactive tracer is injected into a small tube placed into a vein, images are taken to track the flow of the tracer through the gallbladder, liver, and small intestine.
  • Although a HIDA scan is usually done to evaluate the gallbladder, it can also be used to evaluate the liver and track the flow of bile from the liver to the small intestine.

A HIDA scan may be recommended if you have symptoms of an acute gallbladder infection or blockage of a bile duct with gallstones. It can be used to follow up on abnormalities that were found during a regular x-ray or ultrasound.

  • This test can help diagnose several diseases and conditions. These include inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis), blockage of the bile duct, congenital abnormalities in the bile ducts, postoperative complications, and fistulas.
  • It can also be used to assess a patient after a liver transplant.

Not everybody with symptoms of gallbladder disease needs a HIDA scan. It is useful when a healthcare professional strongly suspects gallbladder disease and earlier diagnostic tests do not reveal the source of the problem.

Prior to the procedure, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before the procedure. These may include:

  • medications you should not take before the procedure
  • regular medications you should continue to take on the day of your procedure
  • how many hours you should stop eating and drinking before the procedure

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a HIDA scan?

  • What is my diagnosis and reason for the procedure?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • Are there any alternatives to this procedure?
  • What are the possible risks/complications?
  • How will I feel after the procedure?
  • What symptoms might indicate a problem after the procedure?

After your HIDA scan, your healthcare provider should provide a description of any problems found during the procedure and what symptoms you should report. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans.

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

X-ray
Liver Problems
HIDA Scan
Hepatobiliary Scintigraphy
Hepatobiliary Scan
Gallbladder Problems
Cholescintigraphy
Bile Ducts


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