TEST OF THE WEEK- BARIUM MEAL SWALLOW
A barium swallow test is a special type of imaging test that uses barium and X-rays to create images of the upper digestive tract. This test may be suggested if you are having frequent or painful heartburn, difficulty in eating, drinking or swallowing, abdominal pain, bloodstained vomit, or unexplained weight loss. Barium swallow test help doctors to diagnose inflammation, ulcers or tumours in the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum.
Barium is a harmless white liquid that is visible on X-rays. It is used to help see abnormalities in the oesophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine. When taking the test, you drink a preparation containing this solution. The X-rays track its path through your digestive system.
You may be asked to eat a low-fibre diet for 2 to 3 days before the barium swallow test. You will be asked not to eat or smoke after midnight before the procedure. The barium swallow procedure takes around 30-60 minutes to complete.
A barium swallow can diagnose GERD, heartburn, Hiatal hernias, and other conditions.
These problems can be detected with a barium swallow:
- Narrowing or irritation of the oesophagus
Disorders of swallowing (dysphagia – difficulty swallowing), spasms of the oesophagus or pharynx
Hiatal hernia (an internal defect that causes the stomach to slide partially into the chest)
Abnormally enlarged veins in the oesophagus (varices) that cause bleeding
Polyps (growths that are usually not cancerous, but develop into cancer)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)