Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract Radiography

Summary

Upper gastrointestinal tract radiography, also called an upper GI, is an x-ray examination of the pharynx, esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine (also known as the duodenum) that uses a special form of x-ray called fluoroscopy and an orally ingested contrast material called barium.

An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.

Fluoroscopy makes it possible to see internal organs in motion. When the upper GI tract is coated with barium, the radiologist is able to view and assess the anatomy and function of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.

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Exam Prep & Overview

You should tell your technologist about any recent illnesses or other medical conditions, as well as any allergies you might have to medications. Women should always inform SSR staff if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

AM appointment: Nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before the examination (this includes no smoking or chewing gum)

PM appointment: You may have a clear liquid breakfast before 9:00 AM on the day of your examination and nothing by mouth six hours prior to appointment.

During the exam, you will be asked to drink barium, a contrast material that allows the Radiologist to see your stomach under x-ray. You may also be asked to swallow a fizzy drink that fills your stomach with air. You will be required to move into different positions as the radiologist takes images of your stomach.

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