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Barium Swallow

A barium swallow, also known as an esophagram or upper GI series, is a medical imaging test that helps visualize the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. It is a non-invasive procedure that is typically performed by a radiology technician.

During a barium swallow, the patient drinks a barium solution, which is a chalky liquid that contains barium sulfate. This is not the greatest taste, believe me.

Barium is a contrast material that appears white on X-rays, allowing the structures of the digestive system to be seen more clearly on the X-ray images.

The length of time a barium swallow takes is typically about an hour.

Most people do not experience pain during a barium swallow. However, some people may experience mild discomfort or nausea from drinking the barium solution. 🤢

Common diagnoses made by a barium swallow include:

  • Structural abnormalities of the digestive tract, such as narrowing, blockages, or inflammation.

  • Swallowing problems, such as difficulty swallowing or aspiration, which occurs when food or liquid enters the airway instead of the esophagus.

  • Hiatal hernia, which occurs when part of the stomach protrudes into the chest cavity through the diaphragm.

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which occurs when stomach acid and contents flow back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms.

  • Ulcers, which are sores that can form in the stomach or small intestine.

  • Tumors or other abnormal growths in the digestive tract.

To Prepare:

No eating or drinking anything for six hours before your procedure.

You may take small sips of water up until two hours before your procedure.

What to Expect from Your Barium Swallow Test SGT University

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