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Barium swallow & meal

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This x-ray procedure is designed to examine the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. After these organs have been relaxed by medication and distended with gas, a thin coating of barium suspension is applied to outline their inner surfaces.


If you are a woman of childbearing age and there is a chance that you may be pregnant, please consult your physician before scheduling this exam.

Medications can be taken prior to your test. Pills should be taken early in the morning, with just a small amount of water. If you take insulin, you must consult with your doctor about adjusting your dose. You should not take insulin if you are fasting for your exam. However, you should bring your insulin with you so you can take it after the exam. Also, when making an appointment, tell the scheduler if you are diabetic. Request an appointment time early in the day.

The presence of food or fluid materials would interfere with the accuracy of the examination. It is therefore necessary to avoid all intake of food or liquid from the hour of 9:00 p.m. of the day preceding your appointment.

Patients less than 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Please do not bring children with you to the appointment. Be sure that your doctor's office has sent an x-ray request to us or that you bring one with you.

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The procedure

The test will take between 20 to 40 minutes.

You will be asked to change into a hospital gown since zippers and snaps will interfere with making the images. Women must remove bras. You should also remove any jewelry that may be in the area of the neck or abdomen.

You will be asked to swallow granules or powder in order to produce gas within the stomach. Next you will be asked to begin swallowing the liquid barium. During the course of the examination, you will be helped to turn to various positions to coat and visualize all areas of the upper gastrointestinal tract. A number of x-ray films will be obtained. Sometimes, a small intravenous injection is administered in order to obtain relaxation of the stomach and duodenum.

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After Care   

Resume your normal diet. Increase your fluid intake and drink plenty of water. For most patients with normal bowel habits the passage of barium in the form of "white stools" will not be a problem. Patients with a history of constipation may use a mild laxative

The radiologist's report of the results will be ready within 24 hours. Your doctor will discuss the results of the test with you.

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Please call our hotline 16171 or (202) 3336-3310 (Mohandeseen), (202) 2417 5556 (Heliopolis) or (202) 2528 4888 (Maadi) to speak with a radiologist if you have any questions. It is best to call between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., Saturday through Thursday.


Computed & Digital Radiography Barium enema Barium swallow & meal Barium meal follow through Cystogram Hysterosalpingography IVP or IVU Sialography
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Last modified: 17-06-2009