What is the difference between iohexol and barium sulfate?

Iohexol and barium sulfate are both contrast agents that are used during diagnostic radiographic (X-ray) imaging scans. Contrast agents contain an element that is opaque to the X-rays of scanner. Iohexol contains iodine as the opaque ingredient; barium sulfate contains barrium as the opaque ingredient. The barium products are used only in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract; iohexol is used in the GI tract and many other parts of the body. Sometimes barium cannot be used because the person has a perforated bowel or there is a risk that the person will regurgitate some of the barium solution and then inhale it into the lungs. In these cases, iohexol may be preferred because there is less risk.

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