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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 organisms. 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 excessive bacterial 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 overgrowth of intestinal bacteria is causing diarrhea.

Normal Values

No disease-causing organisms should be found under normal conditions.

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.

What the risks are

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

Kazura JW. Nematode infections. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 378.

Kaye KS, Kay D. Salmonella infections (including typhoid fever). In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 329.

Hill DR, Nash TE. Giardia lamblia. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 280.


Review Date: 4/18/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; 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., Inc.
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