Conventional diagnostic techniques are unsuccessful in up to 50% of patients with a vesico-enteric fistula.
Dr Hartwig Schwaibold and colleagues performed the poppy seed diagnostic technique on 17 consecutive patients presenting with a suspected vesico-enteric fistula from 1994-1999.
The test involves the administering of 250g poppy seed orally, followed by the evaluation of urinary excretion of the seeds for the next 2 days.
11 of the 17 patients excreted the seeds in their urine, and were diagnosed as having a vesico-enteric fistula. This diagnosis was supported by conventional diagnostic methods in 9 of the 11 cases.
Surgical exploration confirmed the diagnosis in all 11 cases.
| The poppy seed test:|
1 Administer 250g poppy seed orally
2 Look for seeds in urine for next 2 days
In the remaining 6 patients, a vesico-enteric fistula was excluded by conventional diagnostic techniques and by the success of non-operative therapy.
Dr Schwaibold concludes, "The oral intake of poppy seed is a simple and readily available method for diagnosing vesico-enteric fistula."
He adds, "It may support the surgeon's decision when conventional diagnostic techniques fail."