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Hida Scan


What you need to know about a HIDA scan:

A hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan is a test to show how your liver and gallbladder are working. This test is also called cholescintigraphy.

Reasons for a HIDA scan:

You may a need HIDA scan if you have symptoms of gallbladder or liver problems. Examples include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, or yellow skin or eyes. You may also need HIDA scan before or after gallbladder or liver surgery.

How to prepare for a HIDA scan:

Do not eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take. You may need to stop taking certain medicines before the test. Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Medical shields can be used to protect your baby.

What will happen during a HIDA scan:

A radioactive substance called a tracer will be injected into a vein, usually in your hand or arm. A healthcare provider will position a camera above your stomach. He or she will take pictures every 5 to 15 minutes for 1 to 2 hours. After these pictures are taken, you may be given medicine that will empty your gallbladder. This medicine may cause nausea or pain. Your symptoms should go away in a few minutes. More pictures will be taken as your gallbladder empties.

What will happen after a HIDA scan:

You may need to return in 24 hours for more pictures. Your healthcare provider will tell you when to return if more scans are needed.

Risks of a HIDA scan:

You may have an allergic reaction to the tracer.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have pain, redness, or swelling in the area where the tracer was injected.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Drink liquids as directed. You may need to drink extra liquids to flush the tracer out of your body. Ask your HP how much liquid to drink and which liquids are best for you.
  • Wash your hands well with soap and water after you use the bathroom. The tracer leaves your body within a few days through your urine or bowel movements. Your healthcare provider may tell you to flush the toilet 3 times after you go to the bathroom. This makes sure that none of the tracer is left in the toilet bowl.
  • Do not breastfeed for at least 48 hours or as directed. The tracer can leave your body through your breast milk.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return to go over the results of your tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Further information

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