Esophageal culture is a laboratory test that checks for infection-causing substances in a sample of tissue from the esophagus.
Culture - esophageal
How the test is performed
A sample of tissue from your esophagus is needed. For information on how this is done, see
The sample is sent to a lab, where it is placed in a special dish (culture media) and checked daily to see if any bacteria, fungus, or virus grows.
Other tests may be done to determine what medication can best treat the organism.
How to prepare for the test
There is no preparation needed for a culture. For information on how to prepare for the removal of a piece of esophageal tissue, see
How the test will feel
The laboratory test is painless and does not involve the patient. For information on how the test to obtain the sample feels, see the article on
Why the test is performed
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs or symptoms of an esophageal infection or disease, or if an ongoing infection does not respond to treatment.
Review Date: 11/15/2009
Reviewed By: 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.