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Small bowel tissue smear

Definition

Small bowel tissue smear is a laboratory 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). For more information on this procedure, see EGD.

The sample is sent to a laboratory, where it is sliced, stained, and placed on a microscope slide for examination.

How to prepare for the test

For information on how to prepare for the removal of tissue from your small intestine, see EGD.

How the test will feel

For information on how it will feel to have a sample of intestinal tissue removed, see EGD.

Why the test is performed

Your health care provider may order this test if you have signs or symptoms of an infection or other disease of the small intestine. In most cases, this test is only done when a diagnosis was not able to be made from stool and blood tests.

Normal Values

A normal result means no disease-related substances or changes were found in the sample when 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, or that there were changes in the structure (anatomy) of the tissue.

What the risks are

A laboratory smear poses no risks to the patient. For risks related to obtaining a sample of intestinal tissue, see EGD.

Special considerations

Examination of tissue by a pathologist can help in the diagnosis of certain intestinal infections.

References

DuPont HL. Approach to the patient with suspected enteric infection. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. 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. 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.


Review Date: 4/26/2012
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington; and George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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