The significance of functioning gallbladder visualization on hepatobiliary scintigraphy in infants with persistent jaundice

Chiang Hsuan Lee*, Pei Wen Wang, Ting Ting Lee, Mao Meng Tiao, Fu Chen Huang, Jiin Haur Chuang, Chih Sung Shieh, Yu Fan Cheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine whether gallbladder visualization can help exclude biliary atresia in hepatobiliary scintigraphic studies of infants with persistent jaundice. Methods: One hundred fifty-two infants with persistent jaundice (49 patients with a final diagnosis of biliary atresia and 103 with biliary patency) were studied using both hepatobiliary scintigraphy and abdominal sonography. Food was withheld for 4 h before the examination, and the infants were fed nothing but glucose until 6 h after the initial injection of 99mtc-disofenin or until the gallbladder was seen. If the gallbladder was seen, the infants were fed milk, and imaging was continued to observe gallbladder contractility. Results: In none of the 49 patients with biliary atresia could the gallbladder be seen with hepatobiliary scintigraphy, but abdominal sonography revealed 9 normal-sized gallbladders. Of the 103 patients with biliary patency, hepatobiliary scintigraphy detected the gallbladder more frequently (74%, 76/103) than did abdominal sonography (63%, 65/103). All visualized gallbladders contracted after the infants were fed milk. If we include visualization of both the gallbladder and bowel radioactivity as criteria, the specificity of biliary atresia on hepatobiliary scintigraphy increases to 86% (89/103). Conclusion: Gallbladders were usually visible on hepatobiliary scintigraphy of fasting patients with biliary patency. A functioning gallbladder, with or without visualization of bowel radioactivity, indicated biliary patency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1209-1213
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2000


  • Abdominal sonography
  • Biliary atresia
  • Biliary patency
  • Hepatobiliary scintigraphy


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