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Small intestine aspirate and culture

 

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

A sample of fluid from the small intestine is needed. A procedure called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is done to get the sample.

The fluid is placed in a special dish in the laboratory. It is watched for growth of bacteria or other organisms. This is called a culture.

How the Test will Feel

 

You are not involved in the test once the sample is taken.

 

Why the Test is Performed

 

Your health care provider may order this test if you have signs of too much bacteria growing in the intestinal tract. In most cases, other tests are done first. This test is rarely done outside of a research setting. In most cases, it has been replaced by a breath test that checks for excess bacteria in the small bowel.

Normally, small amounts of bacteria are present in the small intestine and they 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 provider 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.

 

 

References

Fritsche TR, Pritt BS. Medical parasitology. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 63.

Höegenauer C, Hammer HF. Maldigestion and malabsorption. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 104.

Lacy BE, DiBaise JK. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 105.

Semrad CE. Approach to the patient with diarrhea and malabsorption. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 131.

Siddiqi HA, Salwen MJ, Shaikh MF, Bowne WB. Laboratory diagnosis of gastrointestinal and pancreatic disorders. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 22.

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          Review Date: 4/10/2020

          Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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