Upper GI Series

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An upper GI series is a series of x-rays that are taken to diagnosis disorders of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. These x-rays can be used to diagnosis an abnormal mass, blockage, or problems with the function of one of these organs. It allows the doctor to see how the stomach fills and empties into the small intestines.

What will the scan involve?

  • During the procedure your will need to drink a chalky liquid called barium. The barium acts as a contrasting agent, which coats the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and the duodenum. The barium makes the stomach and the small intestines show up on the x-ray.
    • If your child is unable to drink then an NG tube may be placed.
  • Your child may need to lie on a board. They may have your child turn side to side to fully coat the stomach with the barium.
    • Infants may be strapped to this board and it will tilt side to side. This may upset your child but it is not painful.
  • The x-ray technician will use a large camera to watch how the barium fills the stomach and empties into the intestines. This camera will not touch or hurt your child. It is very important that your child remains still while the x-rays are being taken.

How long will it last?

This test will last approximately 30-60 minutes and your total visit time will be approximately 90 minutes.

Before the test

  • If your child is under 4 years of age: He/she should not have anything to eat or drink for 4 hours prior to the procedure.
    • If your child is over 4 years of age: He/she should not eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to the procedure.

After the test

  • Your child may resume his/her normal diet and activities after the test.
    • Your child’s bowel movements may look white for a few days until the barium passes all the way through the intestines. Encouraging extra fluids for a few days after the test will help clear the barium.
    • Your child’s test results will be discussed with you at your child’s next follow up appointment at GI for Kids.