What is a HIDA scan?

A HIDA scan or hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan is an imaging procedure to track the flow of bile from your liver to your small intestine and also to evaluate your gallbladder function.

How should I prepare for a HIDA scan?

You should fast for 4 to 6 hours prior to the scan. Also, do not take morphine or morphine-based pain medicine for 12 hours beforehand.

Test Details

How long does the HIDA test take?

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. You will be asked to lie onto our imaging table with the nuclear camera placed near your upper abdomen. A small amount of radioactive isotope will be injected into a vein in your arm. The radioisotope will travel to the liver and then into your gallbladder. If the gallbladder is visualized the procedure maybe completed or delayed images maybe obtained. If your Doctor is requesting to see the function of your gallbladder, an injection of cholecystokinin will be given and additional images will be performed for thirty minutes. Cholecystokinin is a peptide hormone that is naturally functioning in your body. This hormone is responsible for stimulating the digestion of fat and protein. By giving you this injection it will cause your gallbladder to contract. The images obtained after this injection will allow the doctor to see how your gallbladder is functioning.

Results and Follow-Up

How soon will the scan results be available?

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.

It is essential to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant before undergoing this scan because of radiation exposure.

Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy