Morphine-augmented cholescintigraphy in acute cholecystitis. A satisfactory alternative to delayed imaging

Clin Nucl Med. 1991 Jun;16(6):404-6. doi: 10.1097/00003072-199106000-00004.


The utility of morphine-augmented cholescintigraphy was reviewed in 32 patients with suspected acute cholecystitis. All patients were administered 2 mg morphine sulfate intravenously when the gallbladder failed to visualize 30 minutes into the study, and imaging continued for up to 60 minutes. Sensitivity for detection of acute cholecystitis was 93% (13 out of 14). Specificity was 78% (14 out of 18). Three of four false-positives occurred in the setting of prolonged fasting and chronic cholecystitis. Cumulative experience suggests that the technique is diagnostically equivalent to imaging for up to 4 hours and that specificity remains incomplete in the setting of prolonged fasting, chronic cholecystitis and other conditions known to affect conventional cholescintigraphy.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Cholecystitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Gallbladder / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Imino Acids
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morphine*
  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors


  • Imino Acids
  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • Morphine
  • technetium Tc 99m mebrofenin