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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.

Alternative Names

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 to prepare for the test

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.

Special considerations

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.

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    Review Date: 4/18/2010

    Review 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.

    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- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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