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Hepatobiliary Study

Hepatobiliary Study or DISIDA Study


  • You have been referred for a Hepatobiliary Study (or DISIDA Study) in which we can see how well your gallbladder and hepatobiliary systems (the ducts connecting the gallbladder to the liver and the small bowel) are functioning.

  • This test takes 2 hours to complete and is done in two phases: 'Filling Phase' and 'Emptying Phase'.

  • You need to fast for a minimum of 8 hours before the test (a small amount of water is permitted).

  • You will be asked to lie on a bed whilst a Gamma camera (1) continually takes images of your abdomen. Imaging is painless.

  • We inject a small amount of radioactive tracer called 99mTc-DISIDA (99m-Technetium Diisopropyl Iminodiacetic Acid) into a vein in your arm.

  • There are rarely any side effects with this injection.​

  • This tracer follows the same pathway as bile in your body. Bile is a fluid produced by your liver and is stored in your gallbladder. Your gallbladder normally releases bile everytime you eat a meal.

  • For the first hour, we look to see if your Gallbladder takes up the DISIDA as it should - 'Filling Phase'.

  • At the end of this hour, we either:

    • Infuse CCK (2) over 30 minutes and image - 'Emptying Phase' OR

    • Drink "Ensure Plus" (3) and image over 1 hour - 'Emptying Phase'.

  • Availability of these two substances will determine as to which one will be administered.

  • Again you need to remain still whilst we image your abdomen over 30 - 60 minutes.

  • You receive a slight radiation dose by having a Biliary Study ~ up to 1.4 times your yearly background radiation (4).


Patient Preparation:

  • If you are pregnant, trying to fall pregnant or breast feeding, you must inform our staff.

  • You are not to have anything to eat or drink for 8 hours prior to the scan. An exception to this rule is if you have biliary atresia. If you are unsure, please call us to confirm your preparation.

  • Avoid Barium Meals (radiographic examination) 2 days prior to having a DISIDA scan.

  • No morphine or morphine derived medications should be taken for 24 hours prior to the scan.

  • If you have had prior imaging e.g. PET, Nuclear Scan, CT, MRI, X-Ray, Ultrasound, etc... please bring these with you.

  • Please also bring your referral and any blood results that you may have had done.

  • Wear comfortable clothing and minimise the amount of metal jewellery you have on (all metal objects will need to be removed prior to imaging).

  • Important Note: You cannot have this test if you have had a PET or Nuclear Scan within 24 hours prior to this test. If you have had Iodine-131 therapy, allow 4-weeks before having this test. Please ring to discuss booking options.​


Breast-Feeding Mothers: Once you have been given the tracer, you need to stop breast-feeding for two feeds. During this time, you need to express and discard your breast milk. You will need to bottle-feed your child during this period.


(1) Gamma Camera is a device that detects gamma-rays (gamma-rays are very similar to x-rays) and does not emit any radiation.

(2) CCK or Cholecystokinin is a peptide hormone of the gastrointestinal system responsible for stimulating the digestion of fat and protein.

(3) "Ensure Plus" is a fatty meal that causes your body to naturally release cholecystokinin.

(4) We all receive a yearly background radiation dose ~ 2.4mSv. Biliary Study or DISIDA Study ~ 3.4mSv = 1.42 times yearly background dose.

value. quality care. convenience.

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