Many procedures are performed at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. For directions, please visit the hospital’s website.
An abdominal ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging test that uses sound waves to create images of organs in the abdomen. The test is performed by placing a handheld device called a transducer on the skin of the belly over the organ(s) being examined. The transducer sends and receives sound waves through the body, then converts the waves into images on a video monitor.
An abdominal ultrasound can be used to determine the cause of abdominal pain, detect gallbladder or kidney stones, help identify the cause of abnormal blood tests, such as liver function tests, or look for fluid retention or swelling of an abdominal organ, such as the liver, pancreas or spleen.
Blood tests are commonly used by physicians to check overall health and evaluate how well the kidney, liver, thyroid and heart are working. They are also used to help screen for or diagnose a wide variety of GI conditions, including inflammation or infection, hepatitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The tests are usually done by drawing blood from a vein in the arm.
Capsule Endoscopy (Pill Cam)
Capsule endoscopy – commonly referred to as “pill cam” – is a diagnostic procedure that enables a trained gastroenterologist to examine the small intestine using a tiny camera the size of a large vitamin pill. The video capsule is swallowed and as it travels through the body, images are sent to a data recorder worn on a waist belt. It is used to help determine the cause of recurring symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, anemia or bleeding.
A colonoscopy is a safe, effective method of visually examining the colon using a very narrow lighted, flexible fiber optic tube called a colonoscope. At the end of the tube is a miniature camera with a wide-angle lens that helps gastroenterologists examine the lining of the digestive tract on a video monitor. Through the use of colonoscopy, a physician can perform biopsies and detect and remove polyps if necessary.
A colonoscopy is a valuable tool for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the intestine. The procedure is recommended if there have been changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, unusual abdominal pain, or if there has been a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease.
A computed tomography scan, or CT scan, is a non-invasive, diagnostic procedure that uses a large, doughnut-shaped X-ray machine to create multiple, high-resolution cross-sectional pictures of the abdomen and pelvic areas and the thorax, the area between the head and abdomen. With the aid of a computer, the machine combines these images to create three-dimensional views of internal organs and body structure.
Gastroenterologists use CT scans to evaluate abdominal pain or to examine organs such as the stomach, small intestine, liver, pancreas, gall bladder, and colon. An abdominal CT scan also can be extremely helpful in the diagnosis of conditions like Crohn’s disease, pancreatitis or appendicitis.
Hydrogen Breath Test
The hydrogen breath test is used to help physicians diagnose conditions such as lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance and small bowel bacterial overgrowth. The patient is asked to blow into a tube to give a sample of breath, then gives another sample after drinking a solution containing sugars such as lactose, fructose or glucose. A test that is positive will show a higher than average level of hydrogen and methane in the breath. (Undigested sugar leads to production of higher levels of these gases in the system, which can be detected in the breath.)
When a chronic autoimmune condition such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis is so severe that it cannot be effectively treated by oral medications, infusion therapy may be prescribed. This means that a drug is administered intravenously (through an IV line). There are several types of infusion drugs, as well as iron infusions which are used to treat anemia in children.
Therapeutic drugs we offer include:
- Humira® – a biologic for treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, plaque psoriasis, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Injectafer® – an iron supplement that helps patients with an iron deficiency
- Remicade® – a biologic for treatment of moderate to severe Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Venofer® – an iron supplement that helps patients with an iron deficiency
Many gastrointestinal disorders that affect children can be resolved with dietary changes or modifications. To help patients and their families, the practice provides special nutritional counseling with a registered and licensed dietitian.
Customized dietary plans can be created to deal with food allergies or sensitivities (including eosinophilic esophagitis), or to help ease symptoms brought on by GI illnesses such as acid reflux, gastroparesis, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, constipation, as well as gas and bloating.
Our physicians and dietitian work as partners with your family to recommend the appropriate nutrition plan for each patient based on their individual needs.
In the meantime, you can download these tips for adding color and taste to every meal. DOWNLOAD
Please note: Patients do not need a referral to make an appointment for nutritional counseling. Many insurance companies cover nutrition counseling appointments and in cases where insurance does not, flexible spending and health savings accounts can be used. Pediatric and adolescent patients are seen at several AGA locations and appointments can be made by a member of our staff or by calling 404.888.7595.
Testing a sample of stool or feces can help physicians diagnose problems in the gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach, intestines and rectum. The most common reason to check a sample is to see if there is blood in the stool, since blood can come from any part of the digestive tract. Test results can also indicate allergies, inflammation, or infections from bacteria, viruses or parasites.
Upper GI Endoscopy (EGD)
The upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the site of many disorders, usually related to diet, environment and heredity. These disorders (including esophagitis, gastritis, ulcers, H. pylori infection and celiac disease) can be diagnosed with a procedure called an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy or EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy).
Using this procedure, the physician visually examines the upper intestinal tract using a lighted, flexible tube called an endoscope. As the physician moves the endoscope through the upper gastrointestinal tract, electronic signals are transmitted from the scope to a computer that displays the image on a video screen. An open channel in the scope allows other instruments to be passed through it to take tissue samples (called biopsies), remove polyps and perform other exams.