Advertisement

What is a barium swallow?

Barium swallow is the process of getting x-ray pictures of the esophagus or the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract (esophagus, stomach, and duodenum). The x-ray pictures are taken after the patient drinks a liquid that contains barium sulfate (a form of the silver-white metallic element barium). The barium sulfate coats and outlines the inner walls of the esophagus and the upper GI tract so that they can be seen on the x-ray pictures.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

Continue Learning about X-Ray Imaging

How does an X-ray machine work?
Discovery HealthDiscovery Health
An X-ray machine is basically just a camera. Where a camera uses visible light, however, an X-ray ma...
More Answers
How can x-ray help diagnose a spinal cord injury?
Luke Macyszyn, MDLuke Macyszyn, MD
X-rays are used primarily to assess bone integrity, not to diagnose a spinal cord injury. They can o...
More Answers
What is a sinus X-ray?
Paul M. Ehrlich, MDPaul M. Ehrlich, MD
Also known as radiographs or roentgenograms, sinus x-ray tests may be done in the office or at a hos...
More Answers
What can I expect during a barium enema x-ray?
Brigham and Women's HospitalBrigham and Women's Hospital
At the time of a barium enema examination (an x-ray procedure to examine the lower gastrointesti...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.