What is the role of the cholecystokinin stimulated HIDA scan in evaluating abdominal pain in children?

Document Type



Paediatric Surgery


Purpose: Cholecystokinin stimulated HIDA (CCK-HIDA) has been used to identify patients with biliary dyskinesia and select patients likely to benefit from cholecystectomy. The appropriate use of this study in children remains controversial and this study aims to better understand the utility of this test.
Methods: Children who underwent a CCK-HIDA for evaluation of abdominal pain over a 15-year period were included, after excluding infants and patient's s/p liver transplant. Relevant clinical and outcomes data were abstracted and analyzed.
Results: 124 patients met inclusion criteria. Mean age was 14.5 ± 2.6 years, Mean BMI was 27.9 ± 9.9 and 96 (77.4%) presented with right upper quadrant or epigastric pain. The mean ejection fraction (EF) was 58.5 ± 31.8%, with 37 (29.8%) < 35% EF. Using receiver operating curve analysis no specific EF threshold value predictive of resolution of symptoms was identified (AUC 0.510; p = 0.94). Using EF <35% and >35% and <20% and >20%, no association was noted with partial/complete resolution of symptoms. On multivariate regression analysis neither EF nor pain reproduction with CCK administration were independently associated with resolution of symptoms.
Conclusions: These data suggest that the CCK-HIDA scan is a poor predictor of benefit from cholecystectomy. Prospective large studies would help in identifying better criterion for patient selection, especially with the trend of increasing surgery for functional gallbladder disorders.
Type of study: Case cohort.
Level of evidence: IV.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Pediatric Surgery