Diagnostic Tests & Procedures

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Pediatric Gastroenterology

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Your visit to our clinic will start with the doctor asking many questions in order to get a very detailed description of your child’s symptoms. This will be followed by a thorough physical examination. If needed, additional tests (blood, stool, or urine tests) or special types of diagnostic imaging (x-rays) may also be requested. 

Click the links below to learn about the highly specialized tests to look inside a child’s gastrointestinal tract.


Diagnostic Tests

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (Upper GI Endoscopy) This test examines the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine. A small flexible lighted tube is passed through the child's mouth into the upper gastrointestinal tract to take pictures and small samples of tissue.

Colonoscopy This test examines the inside of the large intestine. A small flexible lighted tube is passed into the child's bottom and through the large intestine to take pictures and small samples of tissue. Children must have a bowel clean out (which completely clears the large intestine of all stool) prior to a colonoscopy.

Lactose breath test
This test helps to determine if the child is sensitive to milk products.

Capsule endoscopy
This test is performed to visualize the inside of the small intestine. A tiny camera located inside of small capsule is swallowed which then takes photos from within the intestinal tract.

Reflux (GERD) Monitoring To determine whether an infant or child has GERD, testing is done for the amount of acid /liquid escaping out of the stomach into the esophagus. For infants and younger kids, a tiny noodle-like tube is inserted through the nose into the food pipe. It is left in place for 24 hours, to collect information about acidity and other factors in the esophagus. At Swedish, we offer both nasal probe testing for pH alone, as well as pH/impedance (pH/MII) testing. 

Older children also have the option of having a sensor placed without the need for the nasal tube and going home to have acid reflux testing done over 48 hours. This type of testing is called a “Bravo” test.

Radiology Studies

MRI - a special type of scan taken of the body to visualize the details of various organs. No radiation is used, but these take longer than CT scans. Young children may need to be sedated in order to lie perfectly still for this long. 

Upper GI series - a special type of x-ray taken to image the upper gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, small intestine). Special dye (contrast) is used (swallowed or given through a feeding tube) to highlight the anatomy and contours of the bowels. 

Barium enema - a special type of x-ray taken to image the lower gastrointestinal tract. Special dye (contrast) is used (given through the rectum as an enema) to highlight the anatomy and contours of the colon (large intestine).

Abdominal ultrasound - images of the intra-abdominal organs are taken using sound waves. No radiation is involved.

Videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS) or modified barium swallow study (MBS) - a special type of x-ray done by trained pediatric feeding therapists using special dye mixed into the infant or child's food. As the food is swallowed, the radiologist and therapist carefully watch how the food enters the mouth, how it is chewed, and then swallowed.

CT scan - a special type of scan that takes detailed images of the organs inside the body.