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Hida Scan

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What do I 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.

Why may I need a HIDA scan?

You may need a 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 do I 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.

What are the risks of a HIDA scan?

You may have an allergic reaction to the tracer.

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 healthcare providers 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.