Outcome of hepatobiliary scanning in neonatal hepatitis syndrome

Susan M. Gilmour, M. Hershkop, Ram Reifen, David Gilday, Eve A. Roberts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


To evaluate the diagnostic information gained from hepatobiliary scanning in infants, we reviewed 86 consecutive infants who were ≤4 mo old and were treated for conjugated hyperbilirubinemia at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto between 1985 and 1993 and who had technetium iminodiacetic hepatobiliary scanning and a percutaneous liver biopsy performed in close temporal proximity. Methods: Retrospective reviews of hospital charts and blinded reviews of hepatobiliary scans were performed. Results: There were 58 male and 28 female infants (age range, 2-124 days; mean = 65 days). Hepatobiliary scanning failed to show biliary excretion into the gastrointestinal tract in 53 of 86 patients. Forty of these 53 had extrahepatic biliary atresia. The remaining 33 patients demonstrated biliary excretion into the gastrointestinal tract; 24 of 33 had neonatal hepatitis. Among 13 of the 53 patients who had no evidence of biliary excretion and who also did not have extrahepatic biliary atresia, 8 had idiopathic neonatal hepatitis, 4 had interlobular bile duct paucity and 1 had total parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis. In this large series, no patient with extrahepatic biliary atresia showed bile drainage on hepatobiliary scanning. Fifty percent of patients with interlobular bile duct paucity but no extrahepatic obstruction failed to show biliary excretion of radionuclide. Twenty-five percent of patients (8 of 32) with idiopathic neonatal hepatitis demonstrated no biliary excretion. Hepatocellular extraction was examined by semiquantitative analysis in the nondraining, nonbiliary atresia patients (12 of 53). Four of these 12 patients demonstrated poor liver extraction. Three patients had idiopathic neonatal hepatitis, and one had bile duct paucity. Therefore, four of eight neonatal hepatitis patients had normal extraction, suggesting that poor versus good liver hepatocyte clearance cannot accurately identify neonatal hepatitis. Conclusion: Hepatobiliary scanning requires cautious interpretation. Nondraining scans may indicate severe neonatal hepatitis or the presence of interlobular bile duct paucity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1279-1282
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Extrahepatic biliary atresia
  • Hepatobiliary scan
  • Neonatal hepatitis syndrome
  • Technetium-99m-DISIDA


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