You can mark you interesting snippets of text that will be available through a unique link in your browser.

Barium meal

Barium meal

A barium meal, also known as an upper gastrointestinal series is a procedure in which radiographs of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum are taken after barium sulfate is ingested by a patient. Barium meals are useful in the diagnosis of structural and motility abnormalities of the foregut.

The gastrointestinal tract, like other soft-tissue structures, does not show clearly enough for diagnostic purposes on plain radiographs. Barium salts are radioopaque: they show clearly on a radiograph. If barium is swallowed before radiographs are taken, the barium within the esophagus, stomach or duodenum shows the shape of the lumina of these organs.

Liquid suspensions of barium sulfate are non-toxic, apart from a small risk of producing a disturbance in bowel function for 48 hours after ingestion. They usually have a chalky taste that can be disguised by adding flavours. [ [ Upper G.I./Barium Swallow ] ]

A barium meal usually takes less than an hour. The patient ingests gas pellets and citric acid to expand the stomach. Barium sulfate is then ingested. The patient may move or roll over to coat the stomach and esophagus in barium. A needle may also be used to relax the muscle between the stomach and the duodenum. Following these preparations, an x-ray is taken.

There are two varieties of barium meal: single and double contrast meals. A single contrast meal uses only barium, a radioopaque (or positive) contrast medium, to image the upper gastrointestinal tract. A double contrast meal uses barium as well as a radiolucent (or negative) contrast medium such as air, nitrogen, or carbon dioxide. The double contrast meal is more useful as a diagnostic test, demonstrating mucosal details and allowing the detection of small mucosal lesions such as diverticula or polyps.

The diagnostic usage of barium studies has declined in recent years with the increasing use of the practice of endoscopy, which allows direct visual inspection of suspicious areas within the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.

See also

* Barium enema
* Barium swallow
* Barium follow-through


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • barium meal — n a solution of barium sulfate that is swallowed by a patient to facilitate fluoroscopic or radiographic diagnosis * * * a technique for examining the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The patient swallows barium sulphate to coat the lining of… …   Medical dictionary

  • barium meal — noun count BRITISH a substance that you swallow before having an X RAY of your stomach …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • barium meal — noun : a solution of barium sulfate that is swallowed by a patient to facilitate fluoroscopic or roentgenographic diagnosis * * * barium meal noun A mixture of barium sulphate swallowed to render the alimentary canal opaque to X rays • • • Main… …   Useful english dictionary

  • barium meal — noun A procedure in which the patient ingests barium sulfate (a radioopaque compound) for the purpose of producing clear radiographs of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum …   Wiktionary

  • barium meal — noun (U) technical a chemical substance that you drink before you have an x ray 1 (2) …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • Barium — (pronEng|ˈbɛəriəm) is a chemical element. It has the symbol Ba, and atomic number 56. Barium is a soft silvery metallic alkaline earth metal. It is never found in nature in its pure form due to its reactivity with air. Its oxide is historically… …   Wikipedia

  • Barium swallow — Diagnostics ICD 9 CM 87.61 …   Wikipedia

  • Barium (disambiguation) — Barium may refer to:*Barium, the chemical element *Barium meal, a medical procedure *Barium Springs, North Carolina, United States *The Latin name for Bari, Italy …   Wikipedia

  • barium — noun a soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group; found in barite (Freq. 1) • Syn: ↑Ba, ↑atomic number 56 • Derivationally related forms: ↑baric • Hypernyms: ↑metallic element, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • barium — /bair ee euhm, bar /, n. Chem. a whitish, malleable, active, divalent, metallic element, occurring in combination chiefly as barite or as witherite. Symbol: Ba; at. wt.: 137.34; at. no.: 56; sp. gr.: 3.5 at 20°C. [1800 10; BAR(YTES) + IUM] * * *… …   Universalium