Poor Reproducibility of Gallbladder Ejection Fraction by Biliary Scintigraphy for Diagnosis of Biliary Dyskinesia

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Background: Twenty percent of cholecystectomies in the US are performed for a diagnosis of biliary dyskinesia. Diagnosis is made by measuring gallbladder ejection fraction (GbEF) using hepatobiliary scintigraphy. Our purpose was to evaluate the reproducibility of GbEF measurements. Study Design: This is a retrospective review of patients referred for cholecystectomy, from 2010 to 2016, with a diagnosis of biliary dyskinesia based on a GbEF test, who then underwent a repeat GbEF test. Thirty consecutive patients were identified by hospital records. Re-testing of GbEF was performed at least 6 weeks after the initial test using Tc-99m and slow injection of sincalide at 0.02 mcg/kg. Results: On re-testing, 16 of 30 patients (53%) patients had a normal GbEF of >35%, ie the initial test result was not reproducible in them. Age, sex, days between testing, and initial GbEF did not differ between groups. The 14 patients who re-tested positive for biliary dyskinesia with reduced GbEF were significantly more likely to have episodic pain than steady pain. Re-testing frequently resulted in change in management in that most patients who re-tested in the normal range were not offered cholecystectomy. Conclusions: Hepatobiliary scintigraphy with GbEF is a poorly reproducible test. Re-testing resulted in a change in management in many patients who then avoided cholecystectomy. Strong consideration should be given to repeating hepatobiliary scintigraphy with GbEF before cholecystectomy in patients with an initial positive test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-159
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018


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