Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
Your child's doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests to diagnose or rule out Hirschsprung's disease:
- Abdominal X-ray using a contrast dye. Barium or another contrast dye is placed into the bowel through a special tube inserted in the rectum. The barium fills and coats the lining of the bowel, creating a clear silhouette of the colon and rectum. The X-ray will often show a clear contrast between the narrow section of bowel without nerves and the normal but often swollen section of bowel behind it.
- Measuring control of the muscles around the rectum. A manometry test is typically done on older children and adults. During the manometry test, the doctor inflates a balloon inside the rectum. The surrounding muscle should relax as a result. If it doesn't, Hirschsprung's disease may be the cause.
- Removing a sample of colon tissue for testing. Removing a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy) is the surest way to identify Hirschsprung's disease. A biopsy sample can be collected using a suction device and is done on an outpatient basis, meaning it doesn't require a hospital stay.
- What I need to know about Hischsprung disease. National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hirschsprungs_ez/. Accessed Feb. 1, 2013.
- Kliegman RM. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed Feb. 1, 2013.
- Gunnarsdottir A, et al. Modern treatment of Hirschspring's disease. Scandinavian Journal of Surgery. 2011;100:243.