Quirky HIDA Study Shows That HIDA Scans Not Too Helpful

As noted in a previous post, Biliary Dyskinesia –“Only in America” | gutsandgrowth, gallbladder dykinesia is a quite dubious diagnosis.  A recent pediatric study (PM Jones et al. JPGN 2016; 63: 71-75) adds to the uncertainty.

This study utilized a large database for a retrospective review of HIDA scans in patients <22 years.  In a group of 2558 patients, 310 patients had a full-text gallbladder pathology report paired with HIDA scan. The majority of these HIDA scans (64.5%) were performed in teenage Caucasian girls.  Key finding:

  • Gallbladder ejection fraction (GBEF) did not correlate with the presence of gallbladder pathology.  The Odd Ratio (OR) for cholecystitis with EF of 16-34 was 0.98.
  • The majority had at least microscopic pathology: 71.6% had microscopic cholecystitis

The authors indicate that other studies have shown that the diagnosis of gallbladder dyskinesia is controversial “because some point to the strong placebo effect of a surgical intervention, as well as the finding that patients who were observed for a year or more had similar symptom improvement  compared with those who had an operation.” [J Pediatric Surg 2006; 41: 1894-8]

Ultimately, the utility of HIDA scans can only be addressed with randomized prospective studies. Perhaps, these studies will show that HIDA scans are not predictive of who needs a cholecystectomy.

My take: It is interesting that pathology did not correlate with HIDA results.  However, the bigger question is whether abnormal gallbladder function, as assessed by HIDA, triggers symptoms that merit cholecystectomy. This is not addressed by this study.

Beach Art

Beach Art


One thought on “Quirky HIDA Study Shows That HIDA Scans Not Too Helpful

  1. Pingback: March 2017 Briefs | gutsandgrowth

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