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Smear of duodenal fluid aspirate

Smear of duodenal fluid aspirate is an exam of fluid from the duodenum to check for signs of an infection (such as giardia or strongyloides). Rarely, this test is also done in a newborn to check for biliary atresia.

How the Test is Performed

A sample is taken during a procedure called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD).

How to Prepare for the Test

Do not eat or drink anything for 12 hours before the test.

How the Test will Feel

You may feel like you have to gag as the tube is passed, but the procedure is usually not painful. You can get medicines to help you relax and be free of pain. If you get anesthesia, you cannot drive for the rest of the day.

Why the Test is Performed

The test is done to look for infection of the small bowel. However, it is not often needed. In most cases, this test is only done when a diagnosis cannot be made with other tests.

Normal Results

There should be no disease-causing organisms in the duodenum. 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

The results may show the presence of giardia protozoa, the intestinal parasite strongyloides, or another infectious organism.

Risks

The risks of this test include:

  • Bleeding
  • Perforation of (poking a hole in) the gastrointestinal tract by the scope
  • Infection

Some people may not be able to have this test because of other medical conditions.

Considerations

Other tests that are less invasive can often find the source of the infection.

Alternative Names

Duodenal aspirated fluid smear

References

DuPont HL. Approach to the patient with suspected enteric infection. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 291.

Semrad CE. Approach to the patient with diarrhea and malabsorption. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 142.

Giannella RA. Infectious enteritis and proctocolitis and bacterial food poisoning. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger& Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 107.

Croft AC, Woods GL. Specimen collection and handling for diagnosis of infectious diseases. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 63.

Salwen MJ, Siddiqi HA, Gress FG, Bowne WB. Laboratory diagnosis of gastrointestinal and pancreatic disorders. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 22.

Fritsche TR, Selvarangan R. Medical parasitology. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 62.

Update Date: 5/15/2014

Updated by: Jenifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, Aria Health System, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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