Duodenal tissue culture

Alternative names
Culture - duodenal tissue biopsy

A duodenal tissue culture is a laboratory examination of a sample of tissue from the duodenum for the detection and identification of microorganisms associated with infections.

How the test is performed

A duodenal tissue biopsy is obtained via an upper endoscopy. You may be given a sedative to relieve anxiety and discomfort before this test. A local anesthetic is sprayed into the mouth and throat.

A flexible fiberoptic tube is passed through the mouth, the esophagus, and the stomach before it enters the duodenum. This tube allows the physician to see the upper intestinal tract and take a biopsy of certain areas of the duodenum. The sample is then sent for laboratory and pathology examination.

How to prepare for the test

You should not consume any food or fluid for 12 hours before the procedure.

For infants and children:

The preparation you can provide for this procedure depends on your child’s age and experience. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:

How the test will feel
You may feel a gagging sensation as the tube is inserted. You may also feel cramping and a feeling of fullness if air is introduced to expand an area. You may have a sore throat after the procedure.

Why the test is performed
A culture of duodenal tissue is done to evaluate for the presence of certain bacteria which may lead to certain conditions, including peptic ulcer disease (Helicobacter pylori).

Normal Values
The absence of pathogenic bacteria is a normal finding.

What abnormal results mean

Abnormal findings include the presence of the following:

  • Certain bacteria, such as H. pylori (in particular if ulcers are present)  
  • Pathogenic microorganisms resulting in gastroenteritis       o salmonella       o campylobacter       o giardia       o entamoeba

What the risks are
Endoscopy is associated with a small risk of perforation (hole) of the stomach or intestine and/or bleeding from the passage of the tube.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Harutyun Medina, M.D.

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