Gallbladder problems are diagnosed using various tests. These might include:
- Liver function tests (LFTs) — These are blood tests that can show evidence of gallbladder disease.
- Check of the blood’s amylase or lipase levels to look for pancreatic inflammation — Amylase and lipase are enzymes produced in the pancreas.
- Complete blood count (CBC) — A CBC looks at levels of different types of blood cells, such as white blood cells. A high white blood cell count might indicate inflammation.
- Ultrasound — Ultrasound testing uses sound waves to image the intra-abdominal organs, including the gallbladder.
- Abdominal X-ray — This test might show evidence of gallbladder disease, such as gallstones.
- Computed tomography (CT) — This scan constructs detailed X-ray images of the abdominal organs.
- HIDA scan — During this test, a radioactive material, called hydroxy iminodiacetic acid (HIDA), is injected into the patient. The radioactive material is taken up by the gallbladder to measure gallbladder function. This test also is referred to as cholescintigraphy.
- Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) — This test uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to produce detailed pictures.
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) — This is a procedure during which a tube is placed down the patient’s throat, into the stomach, then into the small intestine. Dye is injected and the ducts of the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas can be seen on X-ray.