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Pioneering 'String Test' a True Game Changer in Gastrointestinal Monitoring

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 01 Sep 2022
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Image: A care-changing test to monitor inflammation of the GI tract is now commercially available (Photo courtesy of Children’s Hospital Colorado)
Image: A care-changing test to monitor inflammation of the GI tract is now commercially available (Photo courtesy of Children’s Hospital Colorado)

A care-changing test is designed to monitor inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract by painlessly collecting samples while the patient remains awake and alert. This saves patients more costly and invasive testing that includes having to receive anesthesia.

The EnteroTracker – commonly referred to as the “string test” – from EnteroTrack LLC (Aurora, CO, USA) provides low-cost, accurate analysis of esophageal content and identifies the presence of esophageal inflammation. This allows providers to monitor the effectiveness of treatment. The string test is simple: The patient simply swallows a secured capsule that is composed of a specialty string. As it makes its way to the small intestine, the string continues to unravel. After a few minutes of comfortable rest for the patient, the clinician can gently remove the string, use pH and distance marking to identify sections of the string that correspond to the GI tract, and send the string to the lab for analysis.

The test has been shown to be effective in monitoring inflammatory eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) and may have uses in other diseases including severe gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EGE), food allergic enteropathy (FAE) and inflammatory bowel disease (lBD). These diseases can be difficult to monitor with blood tests, and radio-imaging cannot sample these parts of the GI tract easily.

“I began this project when I joined Children’s Colorado in 2007,” said pediatric gastroenterologist Glenn T. Furuta, MD, of the pediatric hospital system's Digestive Health Institute and Gastrointestinal Eosinophilic Diseases Program, who was among the team of researchers that developed the test. “We knew there had to be options to save our patients from having to go under anesthesia in order to obtain results that would tell us much-needed information about their conditions. We are thrilled at the outcome of this product and the real changes in care this will provide not just our patients, but patients across the country as this technology becomes available for other hospitals to use. It’s truly a game changer in the delivery of care.”

 

 

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