Cholescintigraphy is a radiological method of examining the gallbladder and bile ducts by assessing the accumulation of a radioisotope in the biliary tract. Cholescintigraphy is informative for the detection of acute cholecystitis, disorders of the patency of the choledochus, bile duct atresia, tumor formations, dysfunction of the sphincter of Oddi, failure of postoperative anastomoses, assessment of the motility of the gallbladder. Cholescintigraphy is performed after parenteral administration of a radiopharmaceutical labeled with technetium. Scanning begins 5-10 minutes after the introduction of the radioisotope and continues for 1 hour – the period of maximum activity of the drug.
It is known that the liver produces a liquid with which the body assimilates a number of foods (this refers to the so—called “harmful” products – brains, pork fat, smoked sausages, margarine, etc.) and gets rid of excess bilirubin, cholesterol, etc. The bile ducts play the role of bile storage tanks in the body. With violations in their work, the gallbladder can become inflamed, which leads to cholecystitis (the name of the disease originated from the Greek “bile” and “bubble”). Therefore, the second name of gallbladder scintigraphy is cholescintigraphy.
With the help of сholescintigraphy , it is possible to diagnose:
- pancreatitis (inflammation in the pancreas. It is divided into acute, when there is swelling of the gland tissue and damage to its vessels, and chronic, accompanied by low appetite after taking “harmful” food, acute pain and disruption of the digestive tract);
- perforation, or rupture of the gallbladder;
- extrahepatic cholestasis (mechanical jaundice).
Within 6 hours before the procedure, the patient should not drink or take any food. In addition, it is necessary to inform the doctor about the medications that the patient takes regularly, since the doctor will most likely cancel some of them in order to obtain the correct results of the study and prescribe others instead. Immediately before сholescintigraphy, the patient needs to put aside objects containing metal, empty the bladder.
Methodology of conducting
The patient lies on his back. During the procedure, he tries not to move and to remain calm. The doctor injects a radionuclide-labeled pharmaceutical into his vein, after which he takes pictures with a gamma camera every five minutes for the first half hour, and every ten minutes for the second half hour.
If during the сholescintigraphy a radioactive nuclide behaves unconventionally (moves along the bile ducts at too low a speed or is completely invisible in them, but, on the contrary, appears in other organs), the doctor concludes that there are problems in the functioning of the bile system.
Cholescintigraphy is contraindicated for pregnant and lactating patients, as well as patients with possible allergic reactions to the pharmaceutical used.