Gallbladder Ejection Fraction

What is it?

A gallbladder ejection fraction test may be done to see how much bile leaves the gallbladder when it contracts (squeezes) and empties. This test may also be called cholecystokinin-choleskintigraphy, or CCK-CS. The gallbladder is a sac that holds bile coming from the liver. The body uses bile to help digest (break down) the fats that you eat. The gallbladder, liver, bile duct, cystic duct, and common bile duct are parts of the hepatobiliary system.


Why do I need a gallbladder ejection fraction test?

A gallbladder ejection fraction test may be done if you have acalculous biliary pain or "ABP". This is gallbladder pain that is not caused by gallstones (also called calculus). Gallstones are stone-like masses that form in your gallbladder and may be painful. An ultrasound is a test using sound waves to show pictures of your gallbladder on a screen. An ultrasound may rule out gallstones as the cause of your pain. ABP may also be caused by a problem with your gallbladder muscle that affects the way that it empties.

Who should not have this test?

Tell your caregiver before the test if you might be or are pregnant. Caregivers may suggest waiting to have the test until after your baby is born. Tell caregivers if you are breast feeding. They may suggest waiting to have the test until after you have finished breast feeding your baby. This should be done to prevent your baby from getting any of the radioactive tracer.

What should I do to get ready for the gallbladder ejection fraction test?

Eat and drink as usual up until four hours before the test. Do not eat or drink anything for the four hours right before the test. Some pain medicines can change the test results. Tell your caregiver about all medicines you are taking. You may need to stop taking one or more of your medicines before this test.

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

How is a gallbladder ejection fraction test performed?

  • Your caregiver will tell you what time to come to the Nuclear Medicine department where the test is performed. Remove jewelry and other metal objects, and put on a hospital gown. Caregivers may check your weight. An IV (intravenous line) will be placed into a vein, usually in your hand or arm. A substance called a radioactive tracer will be put into the IV. After that, a hormone medicine called CCK is then put into your IV. This medicine makes your gallbladder contract and empty.

  • A caregiver will position a camera above your stomach and take pictures. Many pictures will be taken as the tracer slowly leaves your gallbladder. The amount of tracer that leaves the gallbladder is called the ejection fraction. A gallbladder ejection fraction test may take up to two hours to complete.

What will I feel during the test?

You may feel discomfort when the IV is put in your vein. The test itself is painless, but you may be uncomfortable lying still during the scan. Caregivers may offer you medicine that may help you to lie still.

What should I do after the test?

You may continue activities, eat, drink, and take your usual medicines as you did before the test. The tracer is not harmful. It becomes non-radioactive within hours after the injection. It is gone from your body within one to two days. Your caregiver may tell you to flush the toilet three times after going to the bathroom. This makes sure that the small amount of tracer leaving your body does not stay in the toilet bowl.

What are normal and abnormal results?

Normal gallbladder ejection fraction is between 35 percent and 75 percent. If you have biliary pain and low ejection fraction you may have ABP. The results of a gallbladder ejection fraction test can help caregivers know how to treat you. It may also tell them whether or not you need surgery. If you need surgery, caregivers will help you prepare for it.

What are the risks with getting this test?

The place where your IV was could bleed, become red, swollen, painful, or infected. If you do not have a gallbladder ejection fraction test, caregivers may not be able to decide what would be the best care for your health problems. Your problem could get worse. Call your caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your medicine or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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