What is the poppy seed test and how is it used in the workup of enterovesical fistula?

Updated: Dec 24, 2020
  • Author: Joseph Basler, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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The poppy seed test has recently proven to be a potentially helpful diagnostic tool. This test consists of administering 1.25 g of poppy seeds with 12 ounces of fluid or 6 ounces of yogurt to the patient. The urine is then collected for the next 48 hours and examined for poppy seeds.

In a recent trial, the accuracy of the poppy seed test was compared with CT scanning and nuclear cystography in 20 patients with surgically confirmed fistulae. The poppy seed test yielded a 100% detection rate, whereas CT scanning and nuclear cystography yielded rates of 70% and 80%, respectively. Because of the low cost of the test ($5.37 for the poppy seed test, $652.92 for CT scanning, $490.83 for nuclear cystography), this may serve as an excellent confirmatory test when fistula is suspected. An obvious problem with the poppy seed test is that it provides little detail as to the location and type of fistula present. [52]

When large areas of inflammation are appreciated or when abscess is involved, possible ureteral involvement should be considered, especially in the setting of any hydronephrosis. Preoperative evaluation with retrograde pyelography or intravenous pyelography (IVP) helps to demonstrate the extent of involvement for surgical repair. [53]

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