Barium swallow or meal

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1 University Teaching Trust Barium swallow or meal Turnberg Building Radiology All Rights Reserved Document for issue as handout.

2 Please read the information and follow the instructions carefully. Please report to: Radiology 1 (X-ray Department) on the first floor of the Turnberg Building in Salford Royal Please make sure that you read this booklet carefully to help you get ready for the test. YOU MUST NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING 6 HOURS BEFORE YOUR EXAMNINATION You will need to undress and put on a hospital examination gown. If possible please bring your own dressing gown and something to read. If you are on a Gluten free diet then please bring a slice of bread / biscuit with you or tell the department on your arrival. Introduction This booklet tells you about the examinations known as a Barium Swallow or Meal. It explains what will happen and what the possible risks are. Why do I need a Barium Swallow or Meal? Your doctor has decided that you need an examination of your Oesophagus - (Gullet) and Stomach. This test may be performed as part of a series of other tests. What is a Barium Swallow? This is a special x-ray procedure to examine the oesophagus and see how you swallow. What is a Barium Meal? This is a special x-ray procedure to examine the oesophagus, stomach and first part of the small bowel. You will be asked to drink a liquid containing Barium which will coat your oesophagus, stomach and small bowel so that they show up on x-rays. Who has made the decision? Your doctor thinks this is the examination you need at this time to investigate your symptoms. However, if you do not want the procedure, please discuss with your doctor and let us know if you decide not to have it done. 1 2

3 Are there any alternatives to this procedure? Another procedure can be done which allows your Oesophagus and Stomach to be investigated. This is a camera test - Endoscopy. This investigation may not be suitable for you so you should discuss it with your consultant. The advantage of a Barium Swallow is that we can watch how the muscles of your gullet work. Who will be doing the Barium Swallow or Meal? A specialist x-ray doctor called a Radiologist or a specially trained radiographer will perform this examination. They are specialists in using x-ray equipment and also in understanding the images produced. They need to look at these images while carrying out the procedure, to make sure that everything your doctor is interested in is seen. What if I m pregnant? Because x-rays can harm unborn babies, it is very important that you tell the Radiology staff that you are, or could be, pregnant before you have x-ray screening. All females of childbearing age will be asked if they could be pregnant when x-rays are to be used. Radiology staff will decide whether it is safe to continue or whether the examination needs to be postponed. If you require alternative tests or treatments due to pregnancy your doctor will discuss this at your next appointment. How do I prepare for Barium Swallow or Meal? It is extremely important to be properly prepared for your Barium examination. For the test to work your Oesophagus and Stomach must be completely empty. If you are not properly prepared it may result in your test being rebooked. DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING FOR SIX HOURS BEFORE YOUR EXAMNINATION What actually happens during a Barium Swallow or Meal? During the examination you may be given a spoonful of powder and a mouthful of sharp tasting liquid which will together produce gas in the stomach. Following this you will be asked to drink some barium liquid whilst being observed on an x-ray screen which looks like a television or computer monitor. You could be lying down or standing - or both -during this examination. The person performing the examination will give you clear instructions during the examination You will be asked to move into various positions and the x-ray table may be tilted whilst the x-rays are taken. We may also ask you to swallow some bread. During a Barium Meal we may need to give you a small injection into a vein in your arm to which will improve the quality of the pictures. This is to relax the muscles in the stomach and small bowel. 3 4

4 How long will it take? The examination usually takes around 20 minutes, but sometimes will take longer. Rarely follow up x-rays will be needed up to an hour later. The doctor/radiographer will let you know if further x-rays are needed. What happens afterwards? You will be able to leave the department as soon as your examination is finished and you feel able to go home. If you have had the injection your eyesight may be blurred so you should not drive or operate machinery until it has returned to normal. This can last for up to an hour after the injection. How soon can I eat and drink, and what happens next? After the examination you will be able to return home/ work and eat and drink as normal. If you drink plenty of fluids this will help avoid any constipation that the barium may cause. Do not worry if your stools are paler than usual as this is quite normal and is due to the barium passing out of your system. The results of your examination will be sent to the doctor who referred you approximately 1 week after the test. Are there any risks or complications? Barium Swallows or Meals are safe examinations, but there are some risks and complications that can arise. Although this is an X-ray procedure, exposure to radiation is kept to the minimum possible level. If your doctor has asked for the test, then he/she will have decided that the benefits from the information gained from the test outweigh the risk due to a small dose of radiation. The barium can stay in your system for a few weeks and may make your stools look pale and chalky. Do not be concerned by this. Because of this you may feel constipated until all of the barium has cleared. You should drink plenty of fluids or you may use your regular laxative. If you have any problems please consult your GP for advice. PLEASE NOTE: The injection we may use during a Barium Meal may make your mouth feel dry and make your vision blurred. The effects usually last up to an hour. However, if you develop a painful red eye within 24 hours of the injection you should see your GP or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department. What if I decide not to have the barium follow through done? You will be able to discuss any concerns you have with the radiologist or radiographer. If you then decide not to go ahead with the barium examination we will write to your referring doctor to let them know. 5 6

5 Patients with Diabetes If you are diabetic and you need advice about your medication and diet, please contact the: Diabetes Centre Monday to Friday 8.30am to 12.00pm or net as soon as you receive this appointment and ask to speak to a diabetes specialist nurse. What if I cannot attend for my appointment? If you have any questions about your examination or cannot make the appointment, please telephone the help-line on: Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.00pm If you are not able to telephone please contact us via on: nhs.uk Please include your name, address, date of birth and hospital number (if known) on all correspondence. Please help us to cut our waiting lists. If you need to cancel or change your appointment call us as soon as you can so that we can use it for another patient. Interpreters If you need an interpreter for your examination please call the department so that we can try to arrange this, or there will be information about translation services on the back page of this booklet. I need an ambulance, how do I arrange this? If you need an ambulance you must ask your GP surgery to arrange this for you. You should give them at least 3 working days notice. Please inform the x-ray department using the contact details in this booklet, if you are arriving by ambulance. Other sources of information Your questions should have been answered by this booklet, further information regarding the examination can be found on the Internet: Websites For general information about radiology departments, visit The Royal College of Radiologists website: NHS 111 Service when its less urgent than NHS Direct PREPARATION FOR THE BARIUM SWALLOW OR MEAL DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING FOR SIX HOURS BEFORE YOUR EXAMINATION If you require further information about this test please contact: Fluoroscopy Department, Radiology 1, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Stott Lane, Salford, M6 8HD In accordance with the Equality Act we will make reasonable adjustments to enable individuals with disabilities to access this service. 7 8

6 G W Design Services Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust All Rights Reserved 2016 This document MUST NOT be photocopied Information Leaflet Control Policy: Unique Identifier: CS 64 (16) Review Date: March 2019 University Teaching Trust For further information on this leaflet, it s references and sources used, please contact Copies of this information are available in other languages and formats upon request. If you need this interpreting please telephone In accordance with the Equality Act we will make reasonable adjustments to enable individuals with disabilities, to access this treatment / service. Under the Human Tissue Act 2004, consent will not be required from living patients from whom tissue has been taken for diagnosis or testing to use any left over tissue for the following purposes: clinical audit, education or training relating to human health, performance assessment, public health monitoring and quality assurance. If you object to your tissue being used for any of the above purposes, please inform a member of staff immediately. Salford Royal operates a smoke-free policy. For advice on stopping smoking contact the Hospital Specialist Stop Smoking Service on Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust Stott Lane, Salford, Manchester, M6 8HD Telephone If you would like to become a Foundation Trust Member please visit: for-members If you have any suggestions as to how this document could be improved in the future then please visit: for-patients

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