A New Technique for Sampling Duodenal Contents

Demonstration of Upper Small-Bowel Pathogens

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  • Kaiser Foundation International, University of Montreal, Kaiser Bauxite Company, Palo Alto Medical Research Foundation and Stanford Medical School, Oakland, California, Canada
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A simple and convenient method for obtaining a small quantity of duodenal contents has been developed: a length of nylon yarn is coiled inside a weighted gelatin pharmaceutical capsule lined inside with rubber. One end of the line protrudes through a hole in the capsule so that when this end is grasped and the capsule swallowed, the line is delivered to the stomach and then to the duodenum. When the line is pulled back up, bilestained duodenal mucus adhering to it may be removed for examination. The technique was demonstrated to be reliable in obtaining duodenal contents and provided the means for diagnosis of Strongyloides stercoralis infection in 51 of 56 persons thought to be infected. The method may be the best procedure available for the detection of this parasite. Other parasites frequently found in the duodenum were also encountered. The value of the procedure for microbiologic, enzyme, and cytologic sampling is yet to be determined.

Author Notes

Present address: Neighborhood Health Center, 2127 University Avenue, East Palo Alto, California 94303. Please address requests for reprints to Dr. Beal.