All Medical Procedures

A hepatobiliary (HIDA) scan is an imaging procedure used to diagnose problems in the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts.

In the HIDA scan, a radioactive chemical or tracer is injected into a vein in your arm.

The tracer is handled by the liver like bile. Bile is a fluid produced and excreted by your liver that helps your digestive system break down fats in the foods you eat. Bile is stored in your gallbladder and the gallbladder releases the bile when you eat a meal.

A special nuclear medicine scanner (gamma camera) tracks the flow of the tracer from your liver into your gallbladder and small intestine.

The name HIDA comes from an early tracer used for the scan, hydroxy iminodiacetic acid. More effective tracers are used today.

Cholescintigraphy, hepatobiliary scintigraphy are other names for a HIDA scan.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) test detects the presence of human papillomavirus, a virus that can lead to the development of genital warts, abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer.

Your doctor might recommend the HPV test if:

  • Your Pap test was abnormal, showing atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS)
  • You're age 30 or older

The HPV test is available only to women; no HPV test yet exists to detect the virus in men. However, men can be infected with HPV and pass the virus along to their sex partners.

Hand transplant is a treatment option for people who have had one or both hands amputated. In a hand transplant, you receive one or two donor hands and a portion of the forearms from a person who has died. Hand transplants are performed in only a few transplant centers worldwide.

Although not guaranteed, a hand transplant may help you regain some hand function and sensation. While a hand transplant can improve your quality of life, it is a lifelong commitment to treatment. You'll need to take special medications (immunosuppressants) and have routine physical therapy and doctor appointments to check on the condition of your donor hands.

A heart transplant is an operation in which a failing, diseased heart is replaced with a healthier, donor heart. Heart transplant is a treatment that's usually reserved for people who have tried medications or other surgeries, but their conditions haven't improved sufficiently.

While a heart transplant is a major operation, your chance of survival is good, with appropriate follow-up care.

When faced with a decision about having a heart transplant, know what to expect of the heart transplant process, the surgery itself, potential risks and follow-up care.

Heart scans, also known as coronary calcium scans, provide pictures of your heart's arteries (coronary arteries). Doctors use heart scans to look for calcium deposits in the coronary arteries that can narrow your arteries and increase your heart attack risk. The result of this test is often called a coronary calcium score.

Heart scans can show that you may have a higher risk of having a heart attack or other problems before you have any obvious symptoms of heart disease. Heart scans aren't for everyone, though. While some walk-in medical facilities advertise that you can walk in for a quick check of your coronary arteries, be cautious of these offers.

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology don't recommend routine use of heart scans on people who don't have symptoms of heart disease and who don't smoke or have cardiac risk factors, such as elevated cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Hematocrit (he-MAT-uh-krit) is the proportion of your total blood volume that is composed of red blood cells. A hematocrit (Hct) test indicates whether you have too few or too many red blood cells — conditions that can occur as the result of certain diseases. Red blood cells, or erythrocytes (uh-RITH-roe-sites), transport oxygen throughout your body.

A hematocrit test is done using a sample of your blood. A lab technician puts the sample in a device called a centrifuge that spins the blood very quickly in a test tube. This motion separates your blood into three parts: the fluid component (plasma), red blood cells and other blood cells. When the blood is separated, the technician can determine what proportion of the cells are red blood cells. Hematocrit is also called packed-cell volume (PCV).

In hemodialysis, a machine filters wastes, salts and fluid from your blood when your kidneys are no longer healthy enough to do this work adequately. Hemodialysis is the most common way to treat advanced kidney failure. The procedure can help you carry on an active life despite failing kidneys.

Hemodialysis requires you to follow a strict treatment schedule, take medications regularly and, usually, make changes in your diet.

Hemodialysis is a serious responsibility, but you don't have to shoulder it alone. You'll work closely with your health care team, including a kidney specialist and other professionals with experience managing hemodialysis. You may be able to do hemodialysis at home.

Peritoneal (per-ih-toe-NEE-ul) dialysis is another way to remove waste products from your blood when your kidneys can no longer do the job adequately. During peritoneal dialysis, blood vessels in your abdominal lining (peritoneum) fill in for your kidneys, with the help of a cleansing fluid that flows into and out of the peritoneal space.

A hemoglobin test measures the amount of hemoglobin in your blood.

Hemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your body's organs and tissues and transports carbon dioxide from your organs and tissues back to your lungs.

If a hemoglobin test reveals that your hemoglobin level is lower than normal, it means you have a low red blood cell count (anemia). Anemia can have many different causes, including vitamin deficiencies, bleeding and chronic diseases.

If a hemoglobin test shows a higher than normal level, there are several potential causes — the blood disorder polycythemia vera, living at a high altitude, smoking, dehydration, burns and excessive vomiting.

During hip replacement, a surgeon removes the damaged sections of your hip joint and replaces them with parts usually constructed of metal and very hard plastic. This artificial joint (prosthesis) helps reduce pain and improve function.

Also called total hip arthroplasty, hip replacement surgery may be an option for you if your hip pain interferes with daily activities and more-conservative treatments haven't helped. Arthritis damage is the most common reason to need hip replacement.

A Holter monitor is a small, wearable device that keeps track of your heart rhythm. Your doctor may want you to wear a Holter monitor for one to two days. During that time, the device records all of your heartbeats.

A Holter monitor test is usually performed after a traditional test to check your heart rhythm (electrocardiogram) if the electrocardiogram doesn't give your doctor enough information about your heart's condition.

Your doctor uses information captured on the Holter monitor to figure out if you have a heart rhythm problem. If standard Holter monitoring doesn't capture your irregular heartbeat, your doctor may suggest a wireless Holter monitor, which can work for weeks.

While wearing a Holter monitor may be a little inconvenient, it's an important test that may help your doctor diagnose your condition.