Fluoroscopy Esophagram Complete with Double Contrast
Wow, that was a mouthful, which is all fancy speak for “Swallow test”. I have included a video if you want to see exactly what the test consists of, or if you need to fall asleep. I wasn’t really looking forward to this test as I have had to drink barium before and it isn’t the greatest tasting crap in the world. Barium is often used as a radiology marker, but I’m way ahead of myself, Let me back up a little.
A Fluoroscopy Esophagram Complete with Double Contrast or “Barium Swallow test”, is a safe and noninvasive upper GI tract procedure, in which a radiologist uses a real-time x-ray machine called a Fluoroscope along with the chalky liquid contract material known as barium. There isn’t anything special about the barium, it just “coats” your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first part of your small intestine). When coated with barium, the radiologist can view the anatomy much clearer than without barium.
My experience today with this procedure was fairly simple. I was instructed to stand on a platform with my back to the vertical X-ray table. I was instructed to drink a little of the barium, turn and drink a little more, and repeat again. I was then given an Alka-Seltzer-type drink and asked to drink it all and not burp. A few more positions and then I was then told to face the table, which was then inverted from its vertical position to a horizontal position. I was asked to get into a certain position, and then drink, you guessed it, more barium. While lying on my stomach, it really became more difficult to not burp.
Once they were done with this setup, they moved the table back to the vertical position. I was then asked to turn around, and they gave me clear water and a barium pill. I was asked to swallow the pill, which was difficult as my mouth was so dry. I think I was supposed to swallow the pill with water, but that wasn’t what they instructed. Leave it to a Marine to follow orders, duh.
All said and done, the procedure lasted about 20 minutes. It wasn’t terrible, just had to stomach the barium, which was thankfully fruit flavored. If you have a test like this or you are to consume barium, you will experience several days of “ghost” poop (your poop will be very white).
When I was in the Marine Corps and had a similar test, they made me drink the fizzy drink, which is designed to expand your stomach. They gave it to me and told me not to burp, and then I had to sit in the waiting room for what felt like an eternity. They finally called me back and took the x-ray or scan. I remember exiting the room and entering the waiting room and I let out a huge long burp, lol.