What is a barium swallow?
A barium swallow or an upper GI series is a type of x-ray that looks at the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. You child will be asked to drink barium, a thick chalky liquid that is used to coat the lining of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).
Why does my child need a barium swallow?
A barium swallow was ordered if your child has any of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bloody stools
- Blood in vomit
Can my child eat or drink before the test?
Your child must adhere to the following instructions:
- Nothing to eat after midnight the day prior to the test
- Children age 0 to 1 year of age: nothing to drink 4 hours prior to the test
- Children age 1 to 3 years of age: nothing to drink 6 hours prior to the test
- Children age 3 to 15 years of age: nothing to drink after midnight the day prior to the test
What will happen before the test?
- Your child will be asked to remove their cloths and put on a hospital gown
- You and your child will be taken into an x-ray room where you will see a TV screen and a table with a big camera
- The test will begin with either your child standing up against the table or lying down on it, depending on your age.
- Parents can stay with their child during the test.
What will happen during the test?
- The radiologist will give your child a paper cup of barium. We can make this chocolate or strawberry
- The lights in the room will be turned down when pictures are taken this will help the doctor see the TV screen better
What happens after the test?
- After the doctor is satisfied with the pictures your child may get dressed and go home
- Your child will be instructed to drink lots of fluids and go back to their normal diet unless otherwise instructed by their healthcare provider.
Remember – the barium will temporarily change the colour of your child’s stool. Have your child drink lots of fluids until the barium passes
LHSC- Preparing for your test
REMINDER: This information is intended to provide general information and should not be used to base a diagnosis or treatment. Please consult the doctors about your specific condition and the approach for treatment.