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HIDA Scan

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HIDA SCAN DEFINITION

This stands for hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid scan. It images the small intestine, in addition to the liver, bile ducts, and gall bladder using a radioactive tracer.

HIDA SCAN PURPOSE

Strictly speaking, this scan tracks something very specific: the progress of bile in your body. However, since bile flow can be affected by a variety of ailments, such as leakage, gall stones, and swelling of the gall bladder, the test actually has a broad range of medical applications.

HIDA SCAN RISKS

The risks may include an allergy with associated medications, or slight bruising from the injection of said medications. Of course, some patients are understandably concerned about the radioactive material, but the amount is so small that it should not pose significant risk of radiation poisoning. As with X rays, however, the test is not given to pregnant women, and breastfeeding women are usually asked to stop breastfeeding for a few days after the exam.

HIDA SCAN PREPARATION REQUIRED

Preparations are mainly about creating an environment for an image that is as clear s possible. Patients are usually asked to fast for at least a couple of hours before the procedure, though the drinking of clear fluids may be permitted to prevent them getting dehydrated. They may be asked to take image-enhancing medication, in addition to the radioactive material, as well as to avoid medicines that may interfere with the image.

HIDA SCAN PROCEDURE

HIDA SCAN
Image: HIDA SCAN
After the tracer takes effect, the patient’s abdominal region is scanned, and the resulting images are interpreted. This is done with a gamma camera that takes a series of photographs over an hour.

HIDA SCAN COMPLICATIONS

Again, complications may result in reaction to associated medication, or if the patient was asked to stop taking medication in the days leading up to the scan. People with kidney problems might wish to notify their doctor.

HIDA SCAN SIDE EFFECTS

The side effects might, again, be those of avoiding taking medication, if ordered by a doctor. In order to avoid side effects from the radiation in your system, you are usually asked to drink more fluids to help flush it out. You are also asked to flush toilets twice, so as not to leave traces in the bowl when you use it.

HIDA SCAN RESULTS

A fairly dark image scan means that bile can move freely through your body, i.e. a normal/healthy result. If lighter areas appear, obstructions may be indicated. The scan may also show the tracer in places where it should not be, indicating a bile leakage. The total non-appearance of the tracer means that it was not picked up by the camera, and more medication may be given to you in order to get a clearer image.
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