Cholescintigraphy, ultrasonography and computerized tomography in the evaluation of biliary tract disorders

Heidi S. Weissmann, Michael Frank, Ruth Rosenblatt, Mark Goldman, Leonard M. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Newer modalities available for the evaluation of hepatobiliary disease include cholescintigraphy, ultrasonography, and computerized tomography. We have examined the relative strengths and weaknesses of each of these noninvasive techniques and developed a rational diagnostic approach for the evaluation of acute cholecystitis, chronic cholecystitis, and cholestasis. The procedure of choice for suspected acute cholecystitis is 99mTc-HIDA cholescintigraphy because it is a highly accurate method for obtaining functional information with regard to cystic duct patency. In suspected chronic cholecystitis, the oral cholecystogram is the best screening procedure, followed by ultrasound for confirmation of gallbladder disease as the cause of nonvisualization. The role of 99mTc-HIDA cholescintigraphy in suspected chronic cholecystitis is limited to those cases where the oral cholecystogram and sonogram yield disparate results, or where a patient is known to have chronic gallbladder disease and superimposed acute exacerbation is suspected. Ultrasonography is recommended as the initial procedure for evaluation of the patient with cholestasis. It is highly accurate in distinguishing hepatocellular disease from obstructive jaundice, and when dilated biliary radicles are visualized, ultrasonography is frequently capable of identifying the cause of obstruction. If the patient's body habitus or gaseous distention makes ultrasonographic evaluation difficult, then computerized tomography is recommended, followed by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or transhepatic cholangiography, when needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-35
Number of pages14
JournalSeminars in nuclear medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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