A HIDA scan is a nuclear medicine test used to find any infections or other problems of the gallbladder or bile ducts. It is also used to evaluate any unexplained abdominal pain.

What will the scan involve?

  • The nurse or nuclear technologist will put an IV in the child’s hand or arm to inject radioactive dye (contrast) in the vein.
  • The doctor will follow the dye through your liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts to see if there is an infection or blockage.
  • A special scanner will be placed over the belly to help the doctor view the dye as it travels and takes pictures of your liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts.
  • The child may also be given cholecystokinin (CCK) through the IV. CCK is a hormone made in your body that causes the gallbladder to release digestive enzymes. If the gallbladder does not respond to the CCK it may be inflamed.

How long will the test last?

This test will last about 1-1/2 hours and you total visit time will be about 2-1/2 hours.

Before the test

  • The child should not eat or drink anything 8 hours before the test.
  • If you want the child to have a numbing cream (Emla) to reduce the pain from getting the IV, please arrive 30 minutes early.

After the test

  • The radioactive dye will stay in the body for a little while until it passes through the urine or stool. There is no danger to your child or anyone else during this time.
  • Your child can start eating and doing activities after the test. Encourage extra fluids for 24 hours after the test to help get rid of the dye.
  • Your child’s test results will be discussed with you at the next follow-up appointment at GI for Kids.