Pediatric Radiology, Raleigh, NC

BARIUM SWALLOW/ESOPHAGRAM

Pediatric Imaging

This examination evaluates the esophagus, the tube between the mouth and stomach.  Pictures of the esophagus will be taken as the special contrast is ingested.  In cases involving small children, the exam is administered as they lay on their back or side.  Teenagers will have additional pictures taken standing.

  • Preparation

    The stomach should be empty for an optimal study and the child should not have anything to eat or drink for the following amount of time:
    Infants (0-2 years of age): 3 hours
    Children older than 2: 8 hours

    Notify us immediately of any known allergies to contrast, as this requires additional preparation.

    The patient should be dressed in comfortable clothes that can be easily removed; changing into a gown may be necessary.  Avoid jewelry and other metallic items in clothes that cover the neck, chest and abdomen.

    Please provide an empty bottle or cup that your child prefers to drink out of.

    Children may be fed following the exam, feel free to bring along a snack.

  • Day of Exam

    Please plan to arrive between 15-30 min prior to your scheduled appointment.  Check-in and registration are completed at the front desk.  The technologist will escort you to the room and discuss the study with you. Afterwards, your child will change into a gown.

    Upon entering the room, you will notice an exam table with a machine on top that can move from side to side, as well as up and down. This part of the machine acquires the pictures and will be positioned over the part of the body being imaged.  You may be present with your child in the room during the exam, but you are required to wear a lead shield for your own protection. The radiologist will be present to discuss the study with you and address any concerns.

    Your child must lay flat on their back on the exam table.  A lead shield may be placed under the lower part of the body that is not being imaged, as long as it does not interfere with the pictures. The top part of the fluoroscopy machine will be positioned over your child and multiple pictures will be taken in different positions as he/she drinks the special contrast (barium). The contrast can be flavored to suit their preference.

    Inform us of any food allergies prior to the study.

  • Post Exam

    The radiologist will discuss the exam findings with you, show you select images, and address any questions you may have.  Thereafter, a report will be sent to your referring doctor.

    Please ensure that your child is properly hydrated throughout the day, as the contrast may cause constipation. A potential side effect of the barium contrast is discolored stool, do not be alarmed if you notice this.