Small intestine aspirate and culture
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Small intestine aspirate and culture

Definition

Small intestine aspirate and culture is a laboratory test to check for infection in the small intestine.

How the Test is Performed

A sample of fluid from the small intestine is needed. This requires a procedure called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). For more information on this procedure, see EGD.

The fluid is placed in a special dish in the laboratory and observed for growth of bacteria. This is called a culture.

How the Test Will Feel

The laboratory culture test does not involve the patient. For information on how the test to obtain the sample feels, see the article on EGD.

Why the Test is Performed

Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of too much bacteria growth in the intestinal tract. This usually is not the first test that would be done.

Normally, small amounts of bacteria are present in the small intestine and do not cause disease. However, the test may be done when your doctor suspects that excess growth of intestinal bacteria is causing diarrhea.

Normal Results

No bacteria should be found.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results may be a sign of infection.

Risks

There are no risks associated with a laboratory culture.

For information on risks associated with the procedure done to obtain the sample, see EGD.

References

DuPont HL. Approach to the patient with suspected enteric infection. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 291.

Semrad CE. Approach to the patient with diarrhea and malabsorption. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 142.

Giannella RA. Infectious enteritis and proctocolitis and bacterial food poisoning. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 107.

Croft AC, Woods GL. Specimen collection and handling for diagnosis of infectious diseases. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2011:chap 63.

Salwen MJ, Siddiqi HA, Gress FG, Bowne WB. Laboratory diagnosis of gastrointestinal and pancreatic disorders. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2011:chap 22.  

Fritsche TR, Selvarangan R. Medical parasitology. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2011:chap 62. 


Review Date: 5/26/2012
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington; and George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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