A sample of bile (a digestive fluid) is needed. This can be done using different methods, including gallbladder surgery or a scope procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).
This test is done to detect infection within the biliary system. The biliary system creates, moves, stores, and releases bile to help in digestion.
The test result is normal if no bacteria, virus, or fungus grew in the laboratory dish.
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
What abnormal results mean
An abnormal result means bacteria, fungus, or virus grew in the laboratory dish. This may be a sign of infection.
What the risks are
A culture itself does not involve the patient, so there are no risks.
Other risks depend on the method used to take a sample of the bile.
Afdhal NH. Diseases of the gallbladder and bile ducts. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 159.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.