What Is An Upper GI Tract?
Upper gastrointestinal tract radiography, also called an Upper GI Series or simply an Upper GI is an X-Ray Examination of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. The procedure can detect ulcers, tumors, inflammation of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, as well as hiatal hernias. Images are produced using a special form of x-ray called fluoroscopy. In order for the anatomy to show on Radiographic Images, the upper GI must be coated with a contrast material called Barium. Barium is an element that is swallowed and appears white on x-ray images.
Reasons For The Procedure
- Observe digestive function
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Reflux (backward flow of partially digested food and digestive juices)
- Severe indigestion
- Blood in the stool (indicating internal bleeding
- Detect abnormalities, such as:
- Inflammation of the esophagus and stomach
How To Prepare For Procedure
You are asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight the day PRIOR to your Examination. The quality of x-ray images are degraded if the stomach is not empty of food.
To avoid stomach secretions, which degrade the quality of x-ray images, after midnight the day prior to your procedure, Do Not:
- Take any medications by mouth (especially Antacids)
- Eat or drink anything
- Chew gum
What To Expect During Procedure
After you check in with the Receptionist, a Technologist will take a preliminary film of your abdomen, as well as your medical history. Then:
- The Technologist will position you next to an upright table
- You will swallow Baking Soda crystals (sometimes called, “Fizzies”)
- The Fizzies will cause gas in your stomach
- You need to restrain from belching, as presence of gas in the stomach enhances details on x-ray images
- Next, you will drink a cup of liquid Barium, which has a chalky taste (we can mask with flavors, such as Strawberry or Chocolate as long as you are not Diabetic.)
- Our Physician will view your esophagus and upper stomach on Fluoroscopy
- Still images are obtained
As the x-ray images are taken, the Technologist will position you in various standing and lying down positions. This assures the Barium is coating all parts of your stomach. You will also need to hold your breath to prevent blurring of the still images.
Once the procedure is complete, the Radiological Physician will examine the x-ray images to make sure they contain the necessary information for a careful evaluation later. If x-ray images are acceptable, you can dress and leave. Occasionally, repeat imaging is necessary.
What To Expect After Procedure
You can resume a regular diet and activities immediately after this procedure unless directed otherwise by your referring Physician.
Common Side Effects After Procedure
- Barium may color stool gray or white for 48-72 hours after procedure
- Expelling of gas
NOTE: It is important to drink extra fluids for 4-5 days after procedure to avoid constipation.
NOTE: Contact your Physician is you are experiencing constipation 4-5 days after the procedure. A laxative may be required to assist you in the elimination of the Barium.
Who Interprets Test Results & How Will I Receive Them?
Our Radiological Physician interprets the x-ray images and forwards a report to your referring Physician. You referring Physician will contact you regarding the results of the procedure, as well as the next course of action if any.
What About Payment?
Radiology Consultants will file all insurance as a courtesy to you. Depending on the Contractual Agreement with your Insurance Company, you may owe a co-payment and/or deductible at the time of service.
* Please bring your Insurance Card with you *
Please visit our BILLING PAGE for specific information on Insurance, Self-Pay, Motor Vehicle Accident, Cash, Debit or Major Credit Card payment options.
Please notify the Radiological Physician and/or Technologist if there is a possibility you are pregnant. Radiation is potentially harmful to a developing baby during pregnancy.
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