Each examination has its own specific tasks: for example, a biochemical blood test provides information about the work of the liver, kidneys, endocrine glands, metabolic state – but does not say anything about whether there is an infection in the body and what it is. That is why, to see the full picture of what is happening in the body, doctors resort to using several methods at once.
Diagnostic tests are “aggressive” (doctors call them invasive) and “non-aggressive” (non-invasive). The first are unpleasant medical manipulations for the child (for example, blood collection from a vein or ingestion of an endoscopic tube for examining the stomach).
Some of these procedures are performed under general anesthesia (say, bronchoscopy) or using sophisticated equipment. The latter, for example, include angiography – an x-ray examination of the vessels, in which a harmless contrast agent is injected into them, making them brighter in the image.
“Aggressive” research is not an easy task even for adults – let alone babies. That is why children’s doctors try to do away with harmless methods, such as urine and feces, ultrasound (ultrasound), ECG (electrocardiography), EEG (electroencephalography), some X-ray studies, complete blood count, which is taken from the finger.
This procedure may need a doctor of any specialty. A complete blood count will give the doctor information on the amount of hemoglobin and red blood cells. The decrease in these indicators may lead to the idea of hidden bleeding or iron deficiency – anemia, and sometimes indicates a lack of vitamins or a disease of the hematopoietic system.
The level of leukocytes and ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) show that there is inflammation in the body. An increase in the number of eosinophils may indicate the appearance of worms or allergies.
As for the general analysis of urine, its results allow us to judge the state of the urinary tract. Thus, the diagnosis of pyelonephritis (inflammation of the kidneys), cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) or urethritis (inflammation of the urinary canal) depends on the number of leukocytes.
With this method, the doctor will be able to examine in detail the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, internal genitals, brain, heart, joints.
The data from this study will almost certainly be required by a doctor if his small patient is bothered by digestive problems. Depending on the situation, the doctor may prescribe a study of feces for dysbacteriosis (this will reveal the composition of the intestinal microflora), worms or protozoa (lamblia, amoeba).
To find out whether glucose, starch or lactose is absorbed in the child’s body, the doctor will need the results of the analysis of carbohydrates; and to find out how proteins, fats and fiber are digested – research called “scatology”.
It allows you to find out what the blood content of specific components, such as cholesterol or bilirubin pigment (these indicators will give the doctor information about the work of the liver).
These include survey images, fluorography, computed tomography. X-rays allow you to see inside the body of the tumor and ulcers, to identify pneumonia, sinusitis, adenoids, fractures and other problems.
Using a special optics that is inserted inside the body, the doctor can examine the mucous membrane of the esophagus, stomach, duodenum (gastroscopy), bladder (cystoscopy), bronchi (bronchoscopy) and other organs. Modern endoscopic equipment allows doctors not only to make an accurate diagnosis, but also to remove polyps through a small incision, to stop internal bleeding, to perform operations on the liver and gall bladder.
During this study, a specialist takes a tiny piece of tissue from some organ, then to examine it under a microscope.
A simple, painless method for diagnosing heart disease. True, not all problems can be identified with the help of an ECG, and then another study is used: ultrasound of the heart (babies do it more often than an ECG).
A study that confirms serious nervous diseases (eg, epilepsy). Instead, babies are recommended to do neurosonography – ultrasound of the brain.
To discover the cause of the disease, doctors usually act in two ways:
1. Identify the causative agent of infection, “growing” it in special conditions (this method is called microbiological, or bacteriological, seeding). Another option is to find microbial particles or the “fruits” of its activity (toxins) in saliva, urine or blood.
2. Study the response of the immune system to the appearance of infection. Immunoglobulin proteins “go out” to fight against microorganisms, and they can be detected using special methods, for example, ELISA – enzyme immunoassay.