The barium swallow series and small bowel series are procedures that consist of the patient drinking liquid barium. The staff or physician observes the barium as it traverses through the gastrointestinal (G.I.) tract using a fluoroscope. This should give a good indication of the condition of the lining and the motility of the esophagus, stomach, and small bowel. Digital images are acquired during the process.
The barium swallow (esophagogram)/upper G.I. series usually takes approximately 30 minutes.
For the small bowel series, images will be acquired every 15-20 minutes for as long as it takes to complete the transit to the large bowel. Usually, this occurs in less than one hour. However, on occasion, this could take up to 3 hours.
The electronic images are acquired, transmitted, and stored in a digital format. The images, along with its reports, are immediately available for electronic transmission to referring physicians. Our facility can also accept similar images from other facilities for comparisons to prior studies. This becomes very important in identifying any pertinent changes in the health status of the region of interest.
The patient should be fasting for at least 8 hours prior to the exam – ideally, nothing to eat or drink after midnight before the exam is scheduled. If the patient is on prescribed medication, he/she should continue taking their medication as directed with a small glass of water.
During the exam, the patient will be asked to change clothes and wear an exam gown.
Wearing loose fitting jogging clothes with no metal objects may allow you to avoid changing clothes.
Following the exam, the patient may resume his/her normal diet and activities. It is not necessary but may be helpful to take a mild laxative and drink plenty of fluids to eliminate any contrast used in the exam.
Following the exam, the patient may resume his/her normal diet and activities.