Upper Gastrointestinal Series (UGI)
This x-ray exam is performed to evaluate the esophagus, the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine. Your doctor may have also requested that you have a small bowel follow through in which serial images will be taken of the small bowel over a specified period of time. The exam will be performed in a special type of x-ray room where the Radiology doctor can look at the images while doing the test. This test can detect disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract such as ulcers, inflammation, cancers and obstructions.
Do not eat, drink, smoke or chew gum after midnight before the exam. Medications can be taken after the exam is completed. If you are a diabetic, you may take your insulin but not any medications taken by mouth.
The exam will take approximately 30 minutes. However, if your physician has requested that images be taken of the barium going through the small bowel, the test will be considerably longer. The length of that test will depend on your body and how fast the barium progresses.
When you arrive at the hospital, sign in at the front desk in the main lobby. Your personal information and insurance information will be taken by one of the admissions personnel. Then you will be called back to the radiology department and asked to change into a hospital gown. You will be asked to stand on the end of the special x-ray table and the Radiologist will have you swallow a liquid barium mixture. He will watch your swallowing on a special TV screen, which is attached to the x-ray unit. He may request that you lie in different positions on the x-ray table so he can see different portions of you upper gastrointestinal tract. The x-ray technologist will take x-rays after the Radiology doctor is finished looking. After the final images are taken, you may leave and follow your normal routine. The Radiologist will study the images and issue a report to your physician. These results are usually available from your physician within 2-3 business days.
The barium used for this exam may cause your stools to be chalky or light colored and it can cause constipation so it is advisable to drink as much fluid as possible to the next few (3) days.