Why do patients need to fast?

Patients undergoing abdominal ultrasound scans need to fast so the doctor can better look at the Gallbladder and Biliary Tree. When you eat the gallbladder releases bile to break down the food in your stomach, and as it is releasing bile it contracts and is no longer easily visualised using ultrasound. When you fast, your gallbladder fills up with bile and then is much more clearly defined during the scan. Many patients referred for upper abdominal scans will have pain and bloating –both possibly associated with the gallbladder, although gallstones may not be the cause it is routine clinical practice to ensure we see the gallbladder to rule it out.

When you eat, you also swallow air. Too much air can make it difficult to see the abdominal organs.

Fasting Procedure

Fast for four hours prior to your appointment.

This means no: Food, milky or fizzy/sugary drinks, chewing gum or cigarettes (chewing gum and cigarettes can make you gassy and make it difficult to see your organs)

Patients who are diabetic or hypoglycaemic need to talk to their GP or practice nurse in advance of the appointment to ensure it is okay.

Medication can be taken as normal.

If your are diabetic, please bring a snack to have after your scan.

Do not continue fasting if you feel unwell at any point.