Doctor insights on:
Barium Swallow Health Risks
Very safe: Only a small amount of radiation is used during the exam. The barium is a white liquid that will pass unchanged through the intestinal tract. Only real problems occur in people who can't swallow much of anything without choking or have a hole in the side (perforation) of their esophagus. These are uncommon problems that your doctor would know about. ...Read more
Barium is a chemical element with symbol ba and atomic number 56. It is the fifth element in group 2, a soft silvery metallic alkaline earth metal. Because of its high chemical reactivity barium is never found in nature as a free element. Its hydroxide was known in pre-modern history as baryta; this substance does not occur as a mineral, but can be prepared ...Read more
Barium swallow tests: There are a variety of ways a barium swallow test can be conducted. The most common is simply having the patient swallow oral contrast while the radiologist watches the passage of barium down the esophagus. Sometimes different textures of barium are tested to see how each moves from the mouth to the esophagus and down. A modified barium swallow with speech therapist helps assess for aspiration. ...Read more
Nothing too exciting: We can't take pictures of your GI tract very well, so as a substitute you swallow dense material (barium) which coats your tract and they take pictures, as it goes down or after it goes down, to look for structural abnormalities. Basically you swallow a few gulps, turn a few different positions, maneuver in a few different ways for the camera. It's pretty harmless. ...Read more
Not uncommon: It is a common test in children with neurologic issues, prematurity, and palate deficiencies to make sure can ingest materials safely without aspiration. Aspiration can lead to lung disease. It is certainly used in adults for stroke victims and their rehabilitation. Patients surving trauma to head with significant brain damage need swallows to also assess safe ingestion of liquids and food. ...Read more
Yes, but: The best picture and most accurate result would be on an empty stomach. ...Read more
Ingesting barium: Modified barium swallow is usually imaging fluoroscopically of patient ingesting various textures from ultrathin, thin, nectar etc. To pudding and solid consistencies of barium looking for normal oral pharyngeal function and signs of aspiration. In some caaes study is performed in conjunction with speech pathologist ...Read more
Not much: The amount that is aspirated is small because it is being observed with fluoroscopy. The feeding is stopped and the thickness of the ingested barium is increased until find right consistency that prevents aspiration. If patient has excessive secretions, the room in which exam is performed is equipped with suction and oxygen.Patient is encouraged to drink fluids so barium does not constipate. ...Read more
Area of interest: The terms are often interchanged though do have differences in medical billing and exact procedure type. A barium swallow is often synonymous with an esophagram to look at the whole of the esophagus. A 'modified barium swallow' is usually performed in conjunction with a Speech Pathologist and is specifically looking at the swallowing mechanism of the mouth and oral phaynx to the upper esophagus. ...Read more
Aspiration or not: Barium swallow is another name for an esophagram, which evaluates the esophagus for difficulties of food passing though. Modified barium swallow is done to determine whether someone can swallow certain different textures of food without aspirating on them (aka whether they can keep them out of their lungs). ...Read more
If I take a modified barium swallow exam do I also need to a barium swallow exam? Does modified barium swallow exam covers both?
A modified barium: Swallow evaluates the swallowing mechanism, pharynx, hypopharynx, and upper esophagus. A standard barium swallow evaluates the whole esophagus but does not provide a detailed evaluation of swallowing, so they are different exams. If you need both, the exams could potentially be combined into one visit. Just because you are having a modified doesn't mean you need the standard, though. ...Read more
My barium swallow test was negative for anything. What j's the difference of a modified swallow? Will it show something different.?
Card to say: Perhaps the doctor doing the swallow saw something that he says should be followed. You say why you had the swallow in the first place. But if some of the barium went down the wrong pipe like the lung they may want to see why. You should have a talk with your doctor. Fluoroscopy does involve radiation. In the hands of an experienced radiologist this will be kept to minimum ...Read more
I had a barium swallow when I was around 11 or 12. I am now 39. Did I get a lot of radiation and is there a significant risk?
The radiation: You received was minimal and should not pose any significant risk to your health. ...Read more
Hi I'm 38, and over 12 years I've 3 barium enimas and 3 barium swallow I'm so worried I'll get cancer now from these test, so worried : (please let me know my risk so I can stop worrying thanks.
Yes: I am a radiologist. What is your exact question. There are different types looking for different things. There is a single and double contrast study. It evaluates swallowing the function of the esophagus and to determine if u have reflux or a hiatal hernia. It can also check for inflammation or ulcers or cancer. Be specific on? ...Read more
Barium swallow evaluates the esophagus primarily, can take a few minutes. Can take longer to develop films and evaluate by the md
barium meal (upper GI series), swallow more barium, evaluates the esophagus, stomach, upper small bowel; takes about an hour.
Ugi small bowel follow through (ugisbft) looks at the esophagus, stomach and rest of small bowel-can take up to several hours. ...Read more
Many things: In some circles barium swallow includes just throat/pharynx. Sometimes includes pharynx and esophagus. Pharynx examination looks for dysmotility, oropharyngeal coordination, aspiration of barium into airway, and possible obstruction to movement of barium column. Evaluation of esophagus shows dysmotility, irritability from gastroesoph. reflux, stricture, infection, diverticulum etc. ...Read more
It depends: A routine barium swallow will show gross functional abnormalities of the epiglottis, for example aspiration of the liquid barium. It could possily show a mass if the mass was large enough. A specialized barium swallow, a swallowing study performed with barium infused foods of varying consistency (eg pudding), can better evaluate the function of the epiglottis. Laryngoscopy or CT/MRI may have role ...Read more
Yes: Yes, they will start slowly and change consistencies and amounts as you are able to tolerate. ...Read more
Had a barium swallow 3 days ago and started having bad Diarreah yesterday and continuing into today. Is this normal or??
GI contrast related?: Diarrhea may reflect diet (check fiber intake), alterations in the population of healthy gut flora we each carry, food intolerances, maldigestion due to problems of the small intestine, pancreas, or biliary tree, changes in GI motility (how well your GI tract mixes & moves food along), various infections, & even irritable bowel syndrome. If persistent after evacuating consumed barium, see doctor. ...Read more
Had a modified barium swallow. Results were explained as I sat in the chair. How do I know if the tech turned off the machine?
Usually is not issue: In order for fluoroscopy to be engaged, either foot or hand switch has to be turned on. Record is kept of amount of radiation produced by fluoroscopy during each study. This always can be requested by patient and usually is included in radiology report. Most digital machines maintain last image hold and no additional radiation is expended. Images are copies of last image and not additional radiation. ...Read more
Had a barium swallow test. They said I had some dysmotility, they said its nothing to worry about! I'm worried does it heal itself? Serious?
Consult physician: There are all kinds of dysmotility varying from severe with aspiration into the lungs and minor with subtle movement disorder. You should ask physician who ordered test whether follow up testing is required. Some dysmotility is self limited while other kinds can be progressive. ...Read more
My barium swallow results are confusing. Now I have been told 2 c a GI dr. Can I ask 4 another barium swallow test first? Just 2 b sure 1 is correct
I wouldn't: Depends on what the conflicting results are, but if things are confusing, it's probably a good idea to see a GI doctor. ...Read more
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