Hi, I’m Dr. Elliot Fishman, a radiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. I’d like to talk with you about upper gastrointestinal tract radiography also called an upper GI series.
An upper GI series is an x-ray examination that uses fluoroscopy and a barium-based contrast material to produce images of the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine. Fluoroscopy is a special form of x-ray that allows the radiologist to see internal organs in motion.
Upper GI series is most often used to evaluate digestive function and to detect disease and abnormalities. It may be used to diagnose the cause of pain, acid reflux, blood in the stool and other symptoms you might be having.
If you’re scheduled for an upper GI, there are several things you can do to prepare for the examination.
First of all, if you’re a woman, inform your doctor if there is any possibility you may be pregnant. You should discuss any recent illnesses and medical conditions with your doctor. Tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking and whether or not you have any allergies. When you come for the examination, leave any jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown.
Your doctor will likely instruct you not to eat or drink anything and to refrain from certain medications before your procedure. You will also be instructed on how to obtain and consume the barium contrast material.
You may have some concerns about upper GI series. However, it’s important to consider the likelihood of benefit to your health. While an upper GI series does use radiation, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs any potential risk.
For more information about upper GI series or to answer any of your questions, visit Radiology Info dot org.