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Author Topic: How does a barium swallow work and what is the barium and is it safe?  (Read 8611 times)

Karen W.

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I am scheduled to check in tomorrow at 1:45 pm and scheduled for procedure at 2 oclock.

I went for a endoscope of upper GI, but they were unable to complete or see anything as there was some sort of block. So Next week will be under a General anesthetic, and they will go in and try to find out why I am having trouble swallowing...

I guess the aneurysm or thyroid or even the Hiatal Hernia could press on esophagus enough to cause difficulty swallowing but it is not constant so it could also be a spasm.. but she wants to take a biopsy of the blockage depending on what it turns out to be.. I am very nervous but I need to understand about the barium swallow and whats in it.. They cannot anesthetize my throat because I am allergic to the spray...?

So would someone explain?
« Last Edit: 11/03/2010 07:18:43 by Karen W. »

chris

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Hi Karen

"Barium swallow" is the name of a radiographic imaging procedure; simply put, the patient drinks a mixture containing a suspended barium solid (i.e. insoluble) and sequential X-rays are taken as the liquid exits the mouth and proceeds along the gullet to the stomach.

The barium coats the tissue surface, producing an interface between the tissue and the barium, which generates a very clear surface contour for the radiologist to examine. This can highlight surface abnormalities, strictures and so on.

Barium is used because it is a very heavy, dense metal (you'll notice that when you pick up the cup to drink it!) and therefore, like lead, a very good absorber of X-rays. Consequently, barium-coated surfaces appear white on X-rays pictures because very few X-rays get through in this area.

Chris

Karen W.

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ok..Thank you Chris, I was worried it was some kind of radiated mixture... so if its not I take it... thats good..eh?

Are there any side effects from this stuff as I am assuming it is perfectly safe? Yes?
So it will illuminate so to speak blockages masses pressing against my throat etc...? But if there is some kind of spasm happening it wont be able to detect that correct? so how will they figure that if we have no results here? Or if the mass is gone down again...?

Bored chemist

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There's a small risk from any X ray, but it's not nearly as big a risk as not finding out what's wrong.
The barium is present as barium sulphate which is practically totally insoluble so it just makes its way through the gut.
If there were lots of it it might upset your stomach a bit, but I really don't think that it's worth worrying about. (In fact, worrying about it is more likely to upset your stomach than the BaSO4 is).

neilep

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Karen...My mummy has had to enjoy Barium milkshakes many times and she's fine !....even if she does glow in the dark now ...LOL....

...naaaaa seriously......it's Ok..she's had more than her fair share as she suffers with Crohns disease and taking the barium is fine!



....erhmmm..ewe may need to assist it when flushing......cos..as mentioned above..it's heavy !!!

Karen W.

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Well Test all done exray was terrific and painless although that barium did upset my stomach and gave me a bad case of Diarrhea, but I am happy to say It seems I have a small problem with a deformed flapper thingy sac or something like that he said in the back of our throats we have this little thing that normally comes up and covers your windpipe when drinking and eating but mine has this excess flappage or something which seems to be collecting fluid and or food so when the swallowing mechanism kicks in it is over whelmed by too much going down the throat and the throat tries to compensate and spasms instead of relaxing... so basically My body gets stressed in an attempt to not choke and causes a spasm in the esophagus which causes whats in the throat to be staved off in attempt to limit the volume of whats there to keep it out of the lung.. so breath easy stop eating or drinking and wait for the spasm to stop  then gently take some warm water in tiny sips until the throat loosens up or wait it out for a couple hours.. He said it should right itself.. he said it all comes with age just like arthritis..He says the more stressed I get the worse it will spasm so my stress makes it worse and tenses it up more so I need to relax and not panic when I am choking to death...LOL...

AHHHH But good news is as Arnold would say " Its not a tumor" LOL or anything terrible.. so I am hoping she will cancel the general anesthetic and surgery biopsy thingy with this new information... This has been the best day in a very long time and I am so happy that for a change the news is very good news! YAYYYYYYYY!

 Thanks Chris and Bored and Neily! Thanks Loads for the information and the support!

By the way Neily.. I just had round two with my stomach and the flushing of very white chalky barium stuff! LOL But I feel better just knowing that the swallowing thing is A okay!  HE SAID IT MAY WORSEN WITH AGE BUT IF IT DOES THERE IS A SMALL PROCEDURE THEY CAN DO TO CORRECT THE FLAPPY MECHANISM FUNCTION..yayyyyyyyyy!!!! HE WAS SUCH A POSITIVE DR.. SO NICE... yayyyyyyyy!!!!

I WANT TO KISS YOU ALL OVER, ALL OVER AGAIN... I WANT TO KISS YOU ALL OVER TILL THE NIGHT CLOSES IN...TILL THE NIGHT CLOSES END.... EVERY ONE YOU!!!  YAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!
« Last Edit: 12/03/2010 11:28:25 by Karen W. »

Karen W.

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Karen...My mummy has had to enjoy Barium milkshakes many times and she's fine !....even if she does glow in the dark now ...LOL....

...naaaaa seriously......it's Ok..she's had more than her fair share as she suffers with Crohns disease and taking the barium is fine!



....erhmmm..ewe may need to assist it when flushing......cos..as mentioned above..it's heavy !!!
I AM GLAD YOUR MUM HAS HAD NO TROUBLES WITH IT.. THAT MUST BE WHERE YOU GET YOUR GLOWING PERSONALITY NEIL!!! LOL..

Karen W.

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Wouldn't you think that with this test coming back positive that the endoscopy next weel under general would now be ruled out! They were going to biopsy the supposed lump she thought she ran into.. but seeing that it was only spasms wouldn't you think thee would be no further need for the test? Do the endoscopies supply different information?

Karen W.

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oK...I WAS SUPPOSED NTO GO IN AT 11:00 AM TOMORROW MORNING FOR THE GENERAL ANESTHETIC AND ENDOSCOPY.. BUT IT SEEMS I FORGOT TO PAY ATTENTION TO MY PRE-ADMISSION FORMS AND DID NOT STOP TAKING MY ASPIRIN, ARTHRITIS MEDICINE ARTHROTEC, OR MY OMEGA 3, SEVEN DAYS BEFORE THE PROCEDURE! WHOOPS NOW I GET CHARGED 75.00 TO RESCHEDULE BECAUSE THEY COULD NOT REBOOK SOMEONE ELSE THAT QUICKLY!
  So they said they will call back and reschedule...but I STILL HAVE TO HAVE THE TEST EVEN THOUGH THE OTHER INDICATED NO PROBLEM IN THE THROAT AREA.Sorry I bumped the caps tab...!

 

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