Hepatobiliary (HIDA) Cholesintigraphy


This scan is also known as a HIDA scan. Its role is to demonstrate the flow of bile in the body. Bile produced by the liver is stored in the gall bladder and then released on demand through bile ducts into the bowel to aid digestion. This test follows the flow patterns of bile. This test can demonstrate blockages of bile ducts (both inside the liver and outside the liver), reflux of bile into the stomach and, with the aid of a hormone drug known as cholecystokinin, can show whether the gall bladder and the important muscles at the junction of the main bile duct and the bowel (the sphincter of Oddi) are working normally. The test is usually used for patients with abdominal pain that is thought to be due to problems with the gall bladder or bile ducts.


• This procedure requires an injection of a radioactive material.
• If there is a possibility that you are pregnant, please inform the Nuclear Medicine staff.
• If you are breast-feeding, please inform the Nuclear Medicine staff.
• 4 days before the test NO:
o Barium studies.
• Please inform the Nuclear Medicine staff:
o If you had fasted for more than 24 hours.
o Have pancreatitis.
o Allergic to morphine.
• 12 hours before test: no narcotics e.g.
o Morphine.
o Demerol.
* Check with your referral doctor if you can stop taking these medications and use alternative ones.
• Do not stop other medications.
• Fasting (water only is allowed) prior to test:
o Adults: 4 hours.
o Pediatric: 2 – 3 hours.
• For 4 hours after the injection: Drink plenty of water and empty your bladder frequently.


Are Nuclear Medicine procedures safe?2020-12-08T10:21:58+03:00

Nuclear medicine diagnostic procedures are safe except for pregnant ladies, unless it is requested by the physician for exceptional cases. However, the procedure better to be discussed with the doctor to know the desired benefits of the test and the alternative procedures, or you can ask the the nuclear medicine specialist about the procedure.

Should I wear a lead apron?2020-11-25T14:38:49+03:00

No, you shouldn’t because nuclear medicine scans use high-energy radioisotopes, the radiation passes directly from the other person without interacting with tissues. In contrast, wearing a lead apron slows down the radiation beam, which allows it to deposit its energy in the body and interact with tissues.

Are there risks from radiation?2020-12-08T12:45:27+03:00

The risks from diagnostic doses are usually small compared to other lifetime risks to which the patient is exposed to and the amount of radiation dose in most diagnostic procedures is less than an x-ray, CT scan, or fluoroscopy.

What is the expected damage from radiation?2020-12-08T10:32:23+03:00

When the body is exposed to radiation, tissue damage may occur, which in turn may damage DNA or chromosomes, increasing the risk of genetic mutations. When a fetus is exposed to radiation doses, it may cause abnormalities in an organ or irreparable damage and if the radiation dose is too high, it may cause the death of the fetus.

The radioactive dose used in diagnostic procedures in nuclear medicine is very low, unlike radiation treatments in which the amount of radioactive dose is high and this gives the desired effect on the tissues or organs when radiotherapy. That is why the patient must undergo a pregnancy test in the event of suspicion or if the pregnancy is uncertain before starting the therapeutic doses.

Does the patient become a danger to his family?2020-12-08T10:51:15+03:00

In diagnostic procedures the radioactivity is very low. However, the patient may be asked to maintain a distance of approximately one meter between him and his family members for a period of time given by the nuclear medicine specialist to protect them from exposure to radiation.

One the other hand, in therapeutic procedures, the patients may present some slight risk to their family members if they do not follow the INSTRUCTIONS ON RADIATION SAFETY given to them by the nuclear medicine specialist.


By |2021-07-30T13:27:38+03:00May 12th, 2014|Hepatobiliary system|

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About the Author:

Senior Nuclear Medicine Specialist at Hafar Al-Batin Central Hospital, Founder of NuclearMed Website.

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