Diagnosing and Treating Gastrointestinal Diseases
Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb and Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital in Sandwich offer a number of procedures to diagnose and treat gastrointestinal disease. These GI diagnostic procedures include:
- Upper GI
- Lower GI
- Virtual colonoscopy
The endoscopy suites at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb and Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital in Sandwich are specially equipped to do procedures that examine the respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal tract. These procedures are performed by pulmonologists, gastroenterologists and general surgeons.
Procedures and Tests
Fecal Occult Blood Test
The fecal occult blood test can be done yearly, but it should involve a take home test for three consecutive stools. According to the American Cancer Society, one test by the doctor in the office is not sufficient.
Bronchoscopy examines the respiratory tract and is done under monitored anesthesia. Patients undergoing bronchoscopy should not have anything to eat or drink for eight hours prior to the examination. Symptoms warranting a bronchoscope include:
- Chronic-persistent cough
- Abnormal chest X-ray
Your physician will be able to see the tissue and take biopsies and secretion samples to send for microscopic examination.
Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract
Colonoscopy examines the large intestine (bowel), rectum, and anus and is done under monitored anesthesia, following a colon cleanse the day before prescribed by your physician.
This colon cleanse is very important because it aides in the visual portion of the examination. Other tools are used during the procedure to diagnose or even treat a condition.
For individuals age 50 or older, the American Cancer Society recommends a colonoscopy every 10 years to screen for colon cancer. During a colonoscopy, your doctor will remove any polyps, which will then be biopsied. Symptoms that may warrant a colonoscopy are:
- Blood in stool
- Abdominal pain
- Change in bowel habits
- Irregular bowels
- Abnormal X-Ray findings
- Family history of disease in the colon
EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) examines the esophagus, stomach and duodenum under monitored anesthesia. Patients undergoing EGD should not have anything to eat or drink for eight hours prior to the examination.
In this procedure, a gastroscope is inserted into the mouth through the esophagus then passed down to visually assess the gastric tract lining. If needed, bleeding is stopped, tissue biopsies are taken, and the esophagus and pylorus are dilated. Your physician may order an EGD if you have experienced:
- Chronic nausea or vomiting
- Reflux or heartburn
- Difficulty swallowing
- Food “stuck” in esophagus
- Blood in stool
- Abdominal pain
- Abnormal X-ray findings
- Other gastrointestinal problems
ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography)
ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) examines the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, and pancreatic ducts under general anesthesia. With the addition of X-ray, the gastroenterologist can diagnose and treat conditions involving the GI tract and pancreatic ducts.
Patients undergoing EGD should not have anything to eat or drink for eight hours prior to the examination. A gastroscope is inserted into the mouth through the esophagus then passed down to the GI tract. This procedure also allows for:
- Stent placement
- Balloon dilation to remove gallstones