Scintigraphic Findings Beyond Ejection Fraction on Hepatobiliary Scintigraphy: Are They Correlated With Chronic Gallbladder Disease?

Clin Nucl Med. 2018 Oct;43(10):721-727. doi: 10.1097/RLU.0000000000002242.


Objective: To determine if classically reported findings associated with chronic cholecystitis on hepatobiliary scintigraphy (HBS), such as delayed small bowel (SB) transit, slow gallbladder (GB) filling, and reversal of the normal GB and SB transit, are associated with a depressed GB ejection fraction (GBEF). The secondary objectives were to determine whether GBEF is correlated with the time of GB filling, time of SB transit, or reversal of normal GB/SB filling sequence. We hypothesize that an association between a depressed GBEF and these classical HBS findings could validate them as surrogate markers for chronic GB disease.

Patients and methods: We reviewed all HBS exams over a retrospective 16-month period. Data from 221 patients (mean age, 45.3 ± 15.2 years; 152 female and 69 male subjects) who underwent HBS with GBEF determination for evaluation of chronic symptoms concerning for biliary etiology met inclusion criteria. Classically reported findings for cholecystitis were recorded for each patient. Comparisons were made using t test and Fisher test analysis.

Results: Comparing exams with normal and abnormal GBEF values, there were no significant differences based on age, sex, GB fill time, normal versus delayed SB transit, and reversal of normal GB/SB filling sequence. Additionally, we did not see a correlation between the measured GBEF and GB fill time, SB transit time, or reversal of normal GB/SB filling sequence.

Conclusions: Delayed SB transit, slow GB filling time, and reversal of the normal GB and SB filling sequence on HBS imaging are not associated with the measured GBEF and not predictive of chronic GB disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biliary Tract / diagnostic imaging*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Gallbladder Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gallbladder Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Gallbladder Emptying*
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Retrospective Studies