Monday, May 25, 2009

Utility of barium swallow and barium meal in various abdominal conditions.

Barium is a naturally occurring element, which is radio opaque. Barium swallow and barium meal test involve swallowing a liquid suspension of barium sulphate. When swallowed, barium coats the walls of the digestive tract, which allows the shape of upper digestive tract to be outlined on an X-ray. Then the investigator will take a series of x-rays of gastrointestinal tract in various positions.

Utility

A Barium swallow test may be suggested if you are having difficulty in swallowing, or if you have chest pain or reflux oesophagitis(backflow of stomach juices into the lower part of the oesophagus).

Observation of passage of a radio opaque barium solution through the pharynx and esophagus in to the stomach remains an important investigation of dysphagia. In addition to structural abnormalities such as stricture or neoplasia, disorders of motor functions can be detected through barium swallow. In a patient with dysphagia, lack of progress of barium through the lower esophageal sphincter on swallowing, indicates the presence of achlasia cardia.

Barium meal x-ray is useful in the disease condition of stomach, small intestine and appendix. Barium meal test may also be suggested if you are having unexplained vomiting, pain in your abdomen, severe indigestion or blood in your stool.

If any residue of barium meal is seen at the dependent part of stomach after 6 hours, it may be due to pylorospasm or hypotonia. If the residue is after 24 hours, a diagnosis of organic pyloric stenosis is certain.

Projecting bud of barium meal from smooth outline usually on the lesser curvature of the stomach is a direct sign of ulcer.

Carcinoma of stomach may present as a persistent filling defect which must be constant in all films.

In carcinoma of head of pancreas barium filled duodenum is widened. In case carcinoma in ampulla of vater, a filling defect is seen which may give the duodenum an appearance of a reversed 3.

Links

barium swallow and barium meal tests

Barium swallow image

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