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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Feb;8(2):111-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2009.10.017. Epub 2009 Oct 29.

Nuclear medicine hepatobiliary imaging.

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Division of Nuclear Medicine, Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiologic Science, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Nuclear medicine hepatobilary imaging (HIDA) is a time proven imaging methodology that uses radioactive drugs and specialized cameras to make imaging diagnoses based on physiology. HIDA radiopharmaceuticals are extracted by hepatocytes in the liver and cleared through the biliary system similar to bilirubin. The most common indication for HIDA imaging is acute cholecystitis, diagnosed by nonfilling of the gallbladder due to cystic duct obstruction. HIDA can detect high grade biliary obstruction prior to ductal dilatation; images reveal a persistent hepatogram without biliary clearance due to the high backpressure. HIDA also aids in the diagnosis of partial biliary obstruction due to stones, biliary stricture, and sphincter of Oddi obstruction. It can confirm biliary leakage postcholecystectomy and hepatic transplantation. Calculation of a gallbladder ejection fraction after cholecystokinin infusion is commonly used to diagnose chronic acalculous gallbladder disease. Diseased gallbladders do not contract. There are many other less common but valuable diagnostic indications for HIDA imaging.

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