Comparison of Three Methods to Obtain Upper Small Bowel Contents for Culture

R. León‐Barúa, R. H. Gilman, C. Rodríguez, J. J. Bonilla, A. Yi, D. Maúrtua, R. B. Sack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study of 27 patients with dyspepsia, we compared three methods for obtaining upper small bowel contents for culture: 1) the Enterotest or string capsule method, 2) duodenal intubation using a closed polyethylene tube filled with water that had been boiled for sterilization and removal of dissolved oxygen, and 3) brushing of duodenal mucosa with a cytology brush protected by a sheath (the last two done during endoscopy). In 12 of the 27 patients, duplicate intubations and brushings were performed. The samples obtained were cultured aerobically. Parameters used to compare the three methods were: the contribution of each method to the diagnosis of upper small bowel bacterial overgrowth (USBBO), agreement between the methods in diagnosis of USBBO and in detailed microbiological findings, and the reproducibility of diagnosis of USBBO and of microbiological findings in duplicate intubation and brushing. Intubation and brushing were highly reproducible and superior to the Enterotest in all of the tested parameters. Intubation and brushing are equally efficacious, but intubation is preferred because of the slight cost advantage, ease of specimen processing, and the ability to obtain anaerobic specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)925-928
Number of pages4
JournalThe American Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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