GI Exams

Swallowing Study

A swallowing study is performed with a radiologist and a speech-language pathologist. During the test, the patient swallows a variety of liquids and foods mixed with barium, as a radiologist takes video X-rays of the mouth and throat. These images show how food passes from the mouth through the throat and into the esophagus. The test is generally ordered when a patient complains of difficulty swallowing, a lump-like sensation or pain when swallowing, or choking during meals.

Upper Gastrointestinal Series (Upper GI), Barium Swallow (Esophogram),or Small Bowel Series

These barium studies evaluate the anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract and are helpful in the detection of cancer, ulcers, and other conditions. They are often ordered for patients who complain of a variety of symptoms including abdominal pain, heartburn, diarrhea, swallowing difficulty, weight loss, blood in the stool and anemia. The exams are performed when the patient drinks a liquid barium contrast material and the radiologist takes a series of x-ray images with a fluoroscopic unit.

Barium Enema

This examination is used to evaluate the anatomy of the colon (large intestine) as well as in the detection of colon polyps, cancer and inflammation. Common reasons for ordering and performing this exam include a history of blood in the stool, a change in bowel habits, diverticulitis (an inflammatory condition of the colon that can cause fever and abdominal pain), and unexplained weight loss or anemia.