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Gastric tissue biopsy and culture

  • Definition
    • Gastric tissue biopsy is the removal of stomach tissue for examination. A culture is a laboratory test that examines the tissue sample for bacteria and other organisms that can cause disease.

  • Alternative Names
    • Culture - gastric tissue; Culture - stomach tissue; Biopsy - gastric tissue; Biopsy - stomach tissue; Upper endoscopy - gastric tissue biopsy; EGD - gastric tissue biopsy

  • How the Test is Performed
    • The tissue sample is removed during a procedure called upper endoscopy (or EGD). It is done with a flexible tube with a small camera (flexible endoscope) at the end. The scope is inserted down the throat into the stomach.

      The health care provider sends the tissue sample to a laboratory where it is examined for signs of cancer, certain infections, or other problems.

  • How to Prepare for the Test
    • Follow instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. You will likely be asked not to eat or drink anything for 6 to 12 hours before the procedure.

  • How the Test will Feel
    • Your provider will tell you what to expect during the procedure.

  • Why the Test is Performed
    • This test may be done to diagnose a stomach ulcer or the cause of other stomach symptoms. These symptoms may include:

      • Loss of appetite or weight loss
      • Nausea and vomiting
      • Pain in the upper part of the belly
      • Black stools
      • Vomiting blood or coffee ground-like material

      A gastric tissue biopsy and culture can help detect:

      • Cancer
      • Infections, most commonly Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers
  • Normal Results
    • A gastric tissue biopsy is normal if it does not show cancer, other damage to the lining of the stomach, or signs of organisms that cause infection.

      A gastric tissue culture may be considered normal if it does not show certain bacteria. Stomach acids normally prevent too much bacteria from growing.

  • What Abnormal Results Mean
  • Risks
    • Your provider can discuss the risks of the upper endoscopy procedure with you.

  • References
    • Bhattacharya B. Non-neoplastic disorders of the stomach. In: Iacobuzio-Donahue CA, Montgomery E, eds. Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 3.

      Feldman M, Lee EL. Gastritis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 52.

      Park JY, Fenton HH, Lewin MR, Dilworth HP. Epithelial neoplasms of the stomach. In: Iacobuzio-Donahue CA, Montgomery E, eds. Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012: chap 4.

      Vargo JJ. Preparation for and complications of GI endoscopy. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 41.