Saturday, 3 December 2011

Diagnosis through endoscopic ultrasound: Orange-lemon juice cheaper alternative to costly secretin hormone injection

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: A city team has found a cheap and safe alternative
to the costly hormone, secretin, used in endoscopic ultrasound for
diagnosis of complicated pancreatic diseases including cancer.

All that a patient has to do now is to drink a glass of orange-lemon
juice that costs less than Rs 30 before the endoscopic ultrasound
procedure. He need not take the injection of secretin, imported at a
cost of about Rs 15,000. Secretin is injected before endoscopic
ultrasound for complicated pancreatic problems for better
visualisation of the ducts in the organ. Secretin helps in the
dilation of the ducts and thus a doctor will be able to see the
pancreas better and effectively diagnose the disease.

The city team led by Dr Abdul Khaliq, gastroenterologist at Care
Hospital, found that 200 ml of orange-lemon juice taken before the
procedure works similar to artificial secretin and provides a clear
view of the pancreas and its ducts. Since orange-lemon juice is
natural, it does not cause any side effects. Secretin injection is
known to create problems in some patients.

Dr Abdul Khaliq won an award for this pioneering work from the Indian
Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. “So far, the procedure
involving secretin injection has been limited to the rich. Now that a
glass of orange-lemon juice works similar to secretin, even lower
middle class patients can avail of the diagnostic facility,” he
pointed out.

Endoscopic ultrasound is used to visualise organs with details when
compared to other tests like CT scan or MRI. “Pancreas has ductal
system, which collect the pancreatic juice and drain into small
intestine and this pancreatic juice helps in the process of digestion.
One of the important stimulants for the pancreatic juice secretion is
hormone secretin,” Dr Khaliq said.

Secretin is produced physiologically by the intestinal cells when
these cells are exposed to acid. It is also commercially available for
diagnostic purposes and injected into the body. Since orange-lemon
juice contains citric acid, it stimulates the intestine to produce
secretin naturally. Moreover, this natural secretin helps in better
visualisation of the problem, thus replacing the need for injecting
artificial secretin.

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