Description -The upper GI (gastrointestinal) series is a test that uses x-rays to diagnose problems in the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). A thick barium drink is given to the patient to swallow. The barium coats the lining of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum allowing them to show up clearly on the x-ray images. The upper GI series can demonstrate a blockage, abnormal growth, ulcer or identify a problem with organ functioning.
Indication -The upper GI series is indicated for assessing problems such as abdominal swelling, bloating, pain, nausea, and vomiting. It may be used to detect the cause of painful or difficult swallowing. The radiologist may also find evidence of ulcers, scar tissue, abnormal growths, hiatal hernia (a defect where the upper portion of the stomach slides through the diaphragm), or blockage of the normal food path through the digestive tract.
Procedure - The technologist may take an initial film of the abdomen (a scout film) to make sure that the GI tract is properly prepped for the exam. The procedure is performed on a table with tilting capabilities so the radiologist is able move the patient from a standing to a reclined position. The patient may be given a small cup of effervescent crystals to swallow that allow gas to be created in the stomach for better imaging. The patient is then given a cup of barium and instructed to drink. The radiologist watches the travel of the barium with fluoroscopy (an x-ray unit combined with a TV monitor) as it moves down the throat, into the stomach, and finally into the small bowel. X-rays are taken with the patient in various positions that best demonstrate the areas of interest. The approximate time for the exam is 30 to 45 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