Small intestinal aspirate and culture

Definition
Small intestinal aspirate and culture is a test for the presence of an infection in the small intestine.

How the test is performed
The specimen is obtained by EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy), a flexible scope that is passed through the digestive tract to the small intestine to view the organs and obtain specimens. A small amount of fluid present in the small intestine can be withdrawn through the scope. The fluid is placed in culture media in the laboratory and observed for growth of organisms.

How to prepare for the test
The preparation is the same as for an EGD.

How the test will feel
The test will feel the same as for an EGD.

Why the test is performed
The test is performed to diagnose infections of the intestinal tract.

Normally, many types of organisms are present in the small intestine that do not cause disease. The test may also be performed in certain situations when normal intestinal bacteria is not desirable, such as in transplantation or other conditions that cause immunosuppression.

Normal Values

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

What abnormal results mean

Abnormal results may indicated the presence of infection. When antibiotic therapy is prolonged, sometimes the normal intestinal organisms are not present.

What the risks are

The risks are the same as for an EGD.

Special considerations

Not applicable.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 7, 2012
by Sharon M. Smith, M.D.

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