An upper GI series is a series of x-rays that are taken to diagnosis disorders of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. These x-rays can be used to diagnosis an abnormal mass, a blockage, or problems with the function of one of these organs.
During the procedure you will drink a fluid that has barium added to it. The barium acts as a contrasting agent, which coats the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and the duodenum and allows for better visualization of these organs on the x-rays. The x-ray technician will use a machine called a fluoroscope to watch the barium move through your digestive tract.
An Upper GI Series takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. This is a painless procedure. If your child is ages 0-4 yrs., he/she should not have anything to eat or drink for 4 hours prior to the procedure. If your child is ages 4 or older, he/she should not eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to the procedure.
Sometimes your doctor may want to look at your entire small intestine in addition to the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. In this case, the procedure is called an “Upper GI Series with Small Bowel Follow Through (SBFT)”. All of the above applies, except that this procedure may take anywhere from 1 hour to several hours.