What is a SEHCAT Scan?
A SeHCAT study is a diagnostic procedure which measures how well your body is absorbing bile salts. Bile salts are made in the liver to help digest fats in the small bowel and are then absorbed back into the body. In some people the small bowel can become damaged and so is unable to reabsorb the bile acids properly, which in turn leads to diarrhoea.
What is this scan used for?
A SeHCat study is a simple test to see if you have a problem with bile salt malabsorption.
How can I prepare for this procedure?
- You can eat and drink normally.
- If you take any of the following medicines you will be required to stop these 48 hours before you have the test and stay off them for the 7 days between the two appointments as these medications might interfere with the results: Cholestyramine (Questran, Colestyramine), Colesevelam (Cholestagel), Colestipol (Colestid), antacids containing aluminium hydroxide (e.g. Co-magaldrox, Maalox, Mucogel).
- If your clothing is free of metal items, then you will not be required to change.
- If there is any chance you could be pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding, please inform the Department at least 24 hours before your appointment on 0161 495 7040.
What happens during the procedure?
- We will ask you to swallow a gelatine capsule which contains a small dose of radioactive material bound to a bile salt. This will not make you feel any different.
- You will be required to come back two hours and 7 days later.
- Each of these measurements will take approximately 15 minutes each. You will lie on a bed and a special machine called a gamma camera will be positioned above and beneath you.
Paying for your procedure
The costs of a SeHCAT scan are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own scan, please ask for the cost of the procedure to be explained when you book the appointment.