What is a HIDA scan with CCK

What is a HIDA scan?

What is a HIDA scan?

A HIDA or hepatobiliary scan is a diagnostic test. It is used to capture images of the liver, gallbladder, biliary tract, and small intestine to help diagnose diseases associated with these organs. Bile is a substance that helps digest fat.

This procedure is also known as cholescintigraphy and hepatobiliary scintigraphy. It could also be used as part of a gallbladder ejection fraction, a test used to measure the rate at which bile is being released from your gallbladder. It is also often used in conjunction with x-rays and ultrasound exams.

What can be diagnosed with a HIDA scan?

HIDA scans can be used to diagnose a wide variety of diseases. These include:

  • Inflammation of the gallbladder or cholecystitis
  • Bile duct blockages
  • Congenital bile duct abnormalities, such as biliary atresia, a rare condition that affects infants
  • Post-operative complications including bile leaks and fistulas or abnormal connections between different organs

HIDA scans can also be used to evaluate a liver transplant. The scans can be done regularly to make sure the new liver is working properly.

How do I prepare for a HIDA scan?

A HIDA scan includes a special preparation:

  • Almost four hours before the HIDA scan. Your doctor may allow you to drink clear fluids.
  • Let your doctor know about all medications and supplements you are taking.
  • Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Once you arrive at your local hospital or medical imaging center, an imaging technician will ask you:

  • Change into a hospital gown
  • Remove all jewelry and other metal accessories before the procedure

What to expect with a HIDA scan

What to expect from your HIDA scan:

  1. An imaging technician will instruct you to lie down on a table and remain very calm. They will position a camera called a scanner over your stomach.
  2. The technician will insert an intravenous needle into a vein in your arm or hand.
  3. The technician will inject a radioactive tracer into the infusion so that it goes into your vein.
  4. The tracer moves through your body's bloodstream to your liver, where biliary cells absorb it. Then the tracer moves with the bile into your gallbladder, through the bile duct, and into the small intestine.
  5. The technician will control the camera to take pictures of the indicator as it moves through your body.
  6. The technician may also inject a type of pain reliever called morphine through your IV line. This can help move the tracer into your gallbladder.

HIDA scan with CCK

Your doctor can order a HIDA scan with CCK (cholecystokinin), a hormone that empties the gallbladder and releases bile. If so, the imaging technician will give you this medication orally or through a vein. They will take pictures of your gallbladder before and after you have given CCK.

How long does a HIDA scan take?

A HIDA scan typically takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. Depending on the body's functions, it can take as little as half an hour and up to four hours.

HIDA Scan side effects

HIDA scans are generally safe. But there are a few risks that need to be considered. Possible side effects are:

  • an allergic reaction to the drugs that contain radioactive tracers used in the scan
  • Bruise at the site of the IV
  • Exposure to a small amount of radiation

Tell your doctor if you may become pregnant or if you are breastfeeding. Doctors typically do not perform radiation exposure tests on pregnant women as it could harm your unborn child.

How much does it cost?

According to Healthcare Bluebook, the fair price for a HIDA scan is $ 1,120.

HIDA scan results

Your doctor will attempt a diagnosis by considering your physical condition, abnormal symptoms, and your HIDA scan results.

HIDA scan results can be:

ResultsWhat the scan shows
normalThe radioactive tracer moved freely with the bile from your body into the gallbladder and small intestine.
DraggingThe indicator moved through the body more slowly than normal. This could be a sign of a blockage or a problem with your liver.
UnavailableIf there are no signs of radioactive tracer in the gallbladder in the pictures, it could be a sign of acute gallbladder infection or acute cholecystitis.
Low gallbladder ejection fractionIf the amount of tracer leaving the gallbladder is low after receiving CCK to clear it, you may have chronic inflammation of the gallbladder or chronic cholecystitis.
Radioactive tracer in other parts of the bodyIf pictures show signs of radioactive tracer outside your liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and small intestine, you may have a leak in your body's biliary system.

After a HIDA scan

Most people can go about their day normally after a HIDA scan. Small amounts of the radioactive tracer injected into your bloodstream will leave your body in your urine and stool over the course of a few days. Drinking lots of water will help you clear the tracer out of your system faster.