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Small bowel tissue smear

Small bowel tissue smear is a lab test that checks for disease in a sample of tissue from the small intestine.

How the Test is Performed

A sample of tissue from the small intestine is removed during a procedure called esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD).

The sample is sent to a laboratory. There it is sliced, stained, and placed on a microscope slide to be examined.

How to Prepare for the Test

You will need to have an EGD procedure for the sample to be taken. Prepare for this procedure in the way your doctor recommends.

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 to look for an infection or other disease of the small intestine. In most cases, this test is done only when a diagnosis could not be made using stool and blood tests.

Normal Results

A normal result means that there were no indicators of disease when the sample was examined under the microscope.

The small intestine normally contains certain healthy bacteria and yeast. Their presence is not a sign of disease.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

An abnormal result means that certain microorganisms, such as the parasites Giardia or Strongyloides were seen in the tissue sample. It may also mean that there were changes in the structure (anatomy) of the tissue.

Risks

There are no risks associated with a laboratory culture.

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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