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Esophagram (Barium Swallow)

Description -The esophagram or barium swallow is a test whereby a patient is instructed to drink a barium sulfate compound that enables the radiologist to study the function and appearance of the esophagus and assess the swallowing process.

Indication - The esophagram test is ordered by the healthcare provider to assess symptoms of painful or difficult swallowing, bloodstained vomit, abdominal pain and weight loss. The radiologist is able to detect narrowing or irritation of the esophagus, blockages, hiatal hernia (a defect where the upper portion of the stomach slides through the diaphragm), abnormally enlarged veins that may cause bleeding in the esophagus, ulcers, polyps (non-cancerous growths), or tumor.

Procedure - For this test the patient is given a cup of barium sulfate to drink while the radiologist watches and evaluates the swallowing process with fluoroscopy (an x-ray unit combined with a TV monitor). As the barium coats the lining of the esophagus x-rays are taken to track the pathway to the stomach.The patient is placed in various positions throughout the exam so that structures are optimally demonstrated on the x-rays. The approximate time for the examination is 30 minutes.

Preparation - Nothing to eat or drink for 8 to 10 hours prior to the examination.

* This test information is intended for educational purposes only. This should not replace medical advice from your healthcare provider. Please call your healthcare provider if you have any medical questions concerning your health. For any questions regarding procedures, please contact Advanced Diagnostic P.C. office at 989-799-5699