What is a HIDA scan ?

What is a HIDA scan?

A: HIDA scan is short for Hepatobiliary Imino-Diacetic Acid scan. It is also called a cholescintigraphy, hepatobiliary scintigraphy or hepatobiliary scan. HIDA scans allow doctors to understand how your body is using bile which is helpful to diagnose conditions like bile duct obstruction, bile leakage, congenital problems with bile ducts, gallstones and gallbladder inflamation (cholecystitis).

Your liver produces bile, which aids in digestion. Bile is stored in the gallbladder until you need it to digest your food. Then your gallbladder releases bile into your small intestine. A HIDA scan can detect the flow rate at which your gallbladder releases bile into your small intestine.

A HIDA scan uses radioactive chemical tracers to track the bile flow and does have some risks. You could suffer an allergic reaction to the tracers or you can develop a rash. Apart from that, bruising at the injection site is the only other common side effect. The radiation amount in the tracers is small and short lived.

However, pregnany women should not receive HIDA scans. Tell your doctor if you are nursing an infant. You may have to stop for several days.

HIDA scans will not interupt your day much as you can go about your daily routine immediately after the scan. Your doctor should ask you to take measures to ensure the tracer chemicals are disposed of properly. You should flush the toilet twice, scrub your hands with soap thoroughly after urinating and drinks lost of water to help flush the tracer out.

HIDA results are available quickly after the scan. The tracer appears as a dark region. Lots of dark regions means free bile flow. Light regions may indicate a blockage.

To learn about the involvement of HIDA scans in a potential medical malpractice claim, read this Florida medical malpractice lawyer article.