Diagnostic tests

Your pathway to a diagnosis you can trust

We offer a wide range of tests to confirm a specific diagnosis. You’ll find some of the key procedures, which allow gastroenterologists to see what is happening inside your body, highlighted below.

Endoscopy and colonoscopy

An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube, with a light and a camera at one end. When this is introduced via your mouth, the procedure is called gastroscopy. When it’s introduced anally, it’s called a colonoscopy.

Images of the inside of your body are relayed to a screen, recorded and examined. This procedure allows us to carry out minor surgical work, such as sample taking (biopsies) or polyp removal at the same time.

The middle part of the gastrointestinal tract is beyond reach of the gastroscope and above the reach of a colonoscope. In order to examine this area, we’ll use a camera in a pill – also known as  wireless capsule endoscopy. For details of each approach and the preparation involved, please see:

Imaging the digestive tract

Internal imaging is an area where progress is constantly being made, and long-established techniques enhanced. There are three core approaches:

Ultrasound has many medical uses, with images of unborn babies being, perhaps, the best known. The approach is equally useful in differentiating gas from liquid in the gastrointestinal tract, or trace inflammation in areas such as the appendix, or colon.

A computed tomography (CT) scanner is a sophisticated X-ray machine, which uses a computer to combine images taken from different angles to create sectional views of your body. Helpful for detecting inflammation, or perforation, it is often used in emergency or acute situations. Its use is often restricted in younger patients, because of the radiation involved.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) avoids the  need for X-rays, using radio frequency energy, within an external magnetic field. Discover more about how MRI, and these other imaging processes, create a valuable, internal picture:

Exhaled breath analysis

Breath testing normally takes place after a test substance has been given by mouth, and is used to diagnose a number of gastrointestinal conditions.

One of these established tests is to detect the presence of a bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori, a cause of ulcers and, to a degree, stomach cancer. It’s also used to trace lactose, or fructose intolerance.

Breath analysis is a quick and non-invasive way to assess causes of sometimes quite serious conditions, and work is carrying on to develop breath tests and analysing equipment further. Find out more on:

Faecal testing

What comes out of our body is a reflection of processes taking place inside. Tests carried out on stool samples are another non-invasive way to find out a great deal.

One established test is the measurement of faecal calprotectin, a substance which increases its presence in your intestines when they are inflamed. Positive tests can indicate an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.

Faecal elastase is another helpful test. It measures digestive enzymes and is used to assess pancreatic function. Additional value can be found in further testing of a by-product we all produce. See more on:

Physiological examination

Although physical examination can be a valuable part of a gastroenterologist’s diagnosis, physiological examination generally refers to quite specific testing on the function of key areas.

Oesophageal physiology, unsurprisingly, is the investigation of issues within the gullet. A procedure called oesophageal manometry can measure muscle function, the ability to swallow, others can assess acid reflux levels.

Anorectal physiology looks at muscle strength, sensation and the general function of the sphincter. Amongst other conditions, it helps to diagnose and assess the surprisingly common issue of incontinence. For more information on this and other procedures, see:

Book a consultation

To make an appointment, or if you have any questions, please contact my secretary, Orsi Baranya:

E: profbloompractice@hcahealthcare.co.uk

T:  +44 20 7483 5662
back to top